My Fountain Ideals

My Fountain Ideals 

This article is the first of three covering what my ideals for fountains are, how I design them and how I make them.

I have always had strong ideals for a fountain. Above all it should have a beautiful shape, both when water is flowing and when it is not. It should fit in with where it is going, but be visible and complement its surroundings, rather than clash with them.

Most of all I like delicate natural plant shapes, which can combine with the flowing water to make a coherent overall picture. This can be achieved by water running down stems and falling from the tips of leaves, like rain. Also by forming pools on the way down, which provide an element of calm. Tree shapes are very satisfying, especially for larger fountains.

For me. copper is an ideal material for fountains, because it can be formed in to any shape, and is strong enough for delicate shapes. It also takes on warm oxide colours when heated and then weathers outdoors to take on an attractive greeny patina. It is stable and will last indefinitely in the wet.

The sound of a fountain is always important, but of course needs to suit where the fountain is placed. For confined areas close to where people stay, it needs to be light and pleasant (preferably also interesting). Many falling droplets make a particularly attractive sound. For big fountains meant to be seen from a distance, it can be much louder. However it still should be a satisfying natural sound, such heavy rain or a cascading stream, rather than a coarse sound like a broken downpipe.

Light is very important with fountains. Moving water is caught by light, particularly when the sun is out or there is upward illumination. It is much more interesting to see light sparkling from many small streams or drops of water than from a single jet or spout. The more the illuminated droplets are spread over the fountain the more they enliven it and add to its shape.