November/December 2001

Go with the Flow

Fountains soothe and sparkle

Ponce de León went to lots of trouble seeking a fountain in Florida. Nowadays, island shops make it fun to find your own. They might not make you youthful, but fountains look and sound great, whether they’re placed indoors, on porches and lanais, or outside.

Buckets of Christmas Cheer
Enjoy the Christmas season with this battery-operated musical fountain. It’s made of composite resin and features kindly old Saint Nick pouring water in a barrel for his faithful animals. Tap your fingers anywhere on Santa and the fountain plays “O Christmas Tree” and “Silent Night.” It is also voice-activated “when you have fresh batteries,” explains Lois Runninger, an employee of Forest of Flowers Christmas Shoppe. “Indoor fountains sure are popular,” she notes. “Especially with feng shui coming back in a new light.” Heart of the Island Shopping Center, 1622 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, 941/472-0755.

Solace for the Senses
Jack Elias, owner of Sanybel’s Finest, realizes just how much customers like fountains be-cause his gallery has been carrying them for six or seven years. The shop’s bestsellers are a combination fountain and lamp, made of a fiberglass material with flash bronze plating. A mermaid pours water from a shell into two other shells while a dolphin looks on. It has an adjustable pump with a variable setting that allows water to “gush out or just drip.” They are also available at Captiva’s Finest, 110 Chadwick’s Square, Suite 340, Captiva, 941/472-8222.
Create a fish fountain by combining the big concrete bowl with a cast-iron stand and adjustable pump. Other choices include a turtle, frog, or otter. Elias mentions that people often enhance their fountains by buying a plug-in electric steamer to make mist. Jerry’s Shopping Center, 1700 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, 941/472-6776.

Enlightened Designs
Artist Jim Mazzotta, co-owner of Jungle Drums Gallery on Captiva, reports that sales of fountains really started to take off two or three years ago. He, too, credits this to the increased interest in feng shui. Among the more popular ones are copper candle fountains created by former tropical fish farmer Lee Ruchira. This design of philodendron leaves and cattails takes one votive candle. Its bowl is made of resin and the stand is sold separately. Ruchira, a Floridian of Thai descent, makes other pieces for two, three, or four candles, including a tall, striking fountain of lotus flowers.
    The gallery also carries stunning fountains made by Cleaver Art Glass, a family-run studio based near Tampa that specializes in fused glass. A little aquarium light allows this lovely fountain to glow. “And it’s interactive,” Mazzotta explains. “Arrange the rocks to your liking or add seashells.” 11532 Andy Rosse Lane, Captiva, 941/395-2266.

Seashell collectors will have a hard time choosing their favorite shell-theme fountains at the Audubon Nature Store. The base is made of resin, and an assortment of loose seashells from throughout the world can be rearranged however you like. For a change, add your own self-collected Sanibel and Captiva shells. Turn the adjustable aquarium pump on high speed and the whoosh of rushing water will remind you of the Gulf of Mexico! During the holidays, add crystals and marbles for a festive touch. Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center, 1985 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, 941/395-2050.