Sharing Traveler’s Tales

By Jim McCloskey

Back in the early days of WaterShapes, I recall a long breakfast conversation with David Tisherman in which we discussed the importance of travel as part of a complete design education.

It was the summer of 1999, and I was on the hunt for artwork to go along with an article Mark Holden was preparing on the history of watershape design:  David was known as someone who had traveled extensively and, more to the immediate point, was an avid taker of photographs of superior quality.

He’d brought several sleeves filled with slides (remember them?) along to breakfast, and as we talked and I reviewed the photos, I was endlessly impressed by how meticulously he’d recorded so many places and details.  I’ve always been a traveler, too, but I never much cared for carrying around a camera.  Now, however, I was ashamed that I’d been so lazy:  It was as though at least part of my time in various places around the world had been wasted, simply by virtue of the fact that I hadn’t recorded enough of what I’d seen for later review and use.

I bring this up because I know in my travels in Europe and across North America that I’ve seen hundreds of interesting watershapes – cool swimming pools, fountains, ponds, aqueducts, lakes and waterfeatures that would be perfect entries in the Travelogue section of the WaterShapes EXTRA newsletter and on  The goal of these brief articles has always been to encourage people to get out and see great watershapes with their own eyes, and it’s clearer to me than ever before that no single place has a monopoly on cool watershapes:  They’re just about everywhere.

Of course, many of the coolest watershapes I’ve seen are associated with private homes or restricted commercial properties, so I’ve set those aside and won’t cover them:  I don’t want to tease anyone here with the unseeable and unattainable.  But that’s still left me with dozens of publically accessible watershapes I’ve reported on in these newsletters – and I still have dozens more on my list.

My stock of these places is finite, of course, so starting with this issue I’m going to expand the Travelogue base by adding some travel-centered articles from past editions of WaterShapes to the mix.  For the March 6 newsletter with which this blog appears, for example, I’ve drawn on a wonderful feature Brian Van Bower wrote in January 2001 on the fabulous pool at Miami’s Art Deco-inspired Raleigh Hotel.

This gives me another well of adventures to draw on, but it, too, is finite – so I also want to encourage readers of the newsletter and followers of to send along brief reports based on your experiences while out and about.  I know there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of wondrous watershapes out there that I’ll never reach – and I don’t want to leave anything out just because I don’t travel as extansively as I wish I could.

Think about it:  Right in your own neighborhood might be a fountain, a pond, a public pool or even a spa that other watershapers – and indeed, anyone who’s interested in water – might go out of their way to see.  Who knows?  If we keep this up, someday local travel agents will be packaging Watershape Adventure Tours!

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