Loving What You Do and Having Fun Doing it: The Sculpting of a Koi Fish Fountain

… guest post by Karen, our Concrete Artisan

A couple years ago I was working alone on one of our hybrid pools when the customer came home from work.  I don’t remember what I was working on, but the customer was thrilled; it must have been another creative add-on that, if you know Al, he’s famous for.  She told me she couldn’t wait to get home each day to find out what new additions or surprises we’d completed that day.  Her evident enthusiasm is one of the reasons I love what I do; being able to give the customer more than they expect is a fun way to work, and if you follow Ask the Pool Guy, you know this is how Al prefers to do business.  He doesn’t feel the need to compete with other pool companies, who compete against each other to build basically the same pool thirty, forty, fifty times a season.  Al competes against himself to build his customers not just a pool, but a lifestyle; an environment unique to their interests and personalities.  He doesn’t build pools for anybody with the money to afford one, he accepts customers after getting to know them, who trust in his vision for them, and give him the freedom to follow it without interference.  If they can, he gives them more than they expect.

Like the pool we’re working on now, it’s a hybrid with several unique features that will be written about as they’re completed, but the past couple of days we have focused on creating the waterfall/slide combination.  I use “creating” because while Al has the theme or concept in mind, design aspects evolve as ideas are bounced and the structure takes shape.  Most people visualize a waterfall as water spilling over rocks and dropping from varying heights before splashing into a body of water, whether that is a lake, a river, a pond, or a swimming pool.  Thankfully, Al isn’t most people.  This is another reason I love what I do, and am willing to endure the physical demands some days it makes, because of the creative way Al views the world, and the imaginative fun he inspires.

I love sculpting and the customers love koi, Al knows both of this, so today he informed me that he wanted a koi fish peeking out from between the tiers we were working on before the end of the day.  Not only would the koi be peeking, but it would also be plumbed to shoot water, adding to the splashing dance.  I wasn’t to worry, though, I didn’t need to carve the whole fish, just the head, a small head; a little surprise for the customer to find.  Not quite sure how to pull this off, I asked for a picture reference, which Al provided.  Then I thought marble eyes might be nice, so off Al went to track down two matching marbles.  His mission completed, I completed mine, and watching the customer find it after coming home made my day, and I’m sure it made Al’s, because together, along with Rick’s awesome cement mix, we’d exceeded the customer’s expectations, and sent them off on their trip to Cedar Point wishing they could stay home swimming in their own pool.

Koi Fish Fountain Legendary Escapes (1) Koi Fish Fountain Legendary Escapes (2) Koi Fish Fountain Legendary Escapes (3)