Hawkesbury River, Refuge Bay, Australia

A part-time resident of Australia and full-time artist, Danielle Morse, dipped the cloth in the Hawkesbury River. The Hawkesbury River is located north of Sydney and is a waterway with seven islands and numerous bays.

The area surrounding the Hawkesbury River is full of bushland and natural attractions once occupied by the Darkinjung, Darug, Eora and Kuringgai Aboriginal peoples. They used the river as a source of food and a place for trade. The Aboriginal name for the river was published as Deerubbun in 1870.

Print circa 1776

The Hawkesbury River was one of the major transportation routes for transporting farm produce from the surrounding area to Sydney during the 1800s. Having served as a major transport route in colonial times, the area now maintains a peaceful charm. 

Life on the Hawkesbury in the 1800s by Joseph Lycett (1775-1828)

The Hawkesbury River has a long history of floods. Flood recordings begin in 1799, when Governor Phillip and his party first arrived in the district. Multiple destructive floods followed, but the worst was in 1867. This flood left nearly 1000 residents destitute and swept away much of the livestock and agricultural district.  

Although this river is prone to flooding, the risk hasn’t scared people away from viewing its magical presence.

1888 print by Livingston Hopkins

The Hawkesbury River was named by Governor Phillip in June 1789, after Charles Jenkinson, 1st Earl of Liverpool, who at that time was titled Baron Hawkesbury.

1909 George Malteby on yacht, Hawkesbury River by Norman C. Deck

Vintage photos span 1806 to early 1900s and the river flood, Peats Ferry, Berowra Creek, and Singleton Mill. Steamships and the railway changed the landscape.

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Buller River, Tiroroa, New Zealand

The Buller River is in the South Island of New Zealand. Heidi Hough is a part time resident of New Zealand and spends during the year taking road trips. Traveling along Buller Road, through the gorge and into the mountains, a riverside stop was made.

Buller River is on of New Zealand‘s longest rivers, it flows from Lake Rotoiti through the Buller Gorge and predominantly westerly direction for 105 mountainous miles and enters the Tasman Sea at Westport.

For most of its length the river flows in steep-sided gorges crossing wide gravel plains at Murchison, Inangahua and the coast. Although the Buller River is swift, this does not take away from its serenity as it flows through the beautiful gorges of New Zealand.  

The river’s Maori name, Kawatiri, is believed to mean “deep and swift”, an appropriate description of the river with many Rapids and a great flood discharge. The Buller is named after Charles Buller who furthered the colonization of New Zealand.

Vintage photos depict the Buller River in the late 1800s boating on the Buller 1850s, a fern pool along Buller Road by D. Mahoney taken in 1905, a Punt boat in 1910, Lyll Bridge and Buller Gorge in the 1930s.

An interesting headline concerns the debate over a new coal mine near Buller River. 

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Rach Thay Tieu, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

Three groups, comprising of the entire 4th grade art class at Saigon South International School, dipped the cloth in the Rach Thay Tieu off of the Starlight Bridge in District 7 inHo Chi Minh City (formally Saigon,) Vietnam.

The Rach Thay Tieu  is an important waterway to the newly developed urban area, District 7, in Ho Chi Minh City.Three groups and three stations consisting of nature drawing, poetry and writing, and dipping the river fabric. At the end of the session water samples were taken for further investigation in the classroom.

In 2010, the first pedestrian bridge in Vietnam was built over the Rach Thay Tieu. It is called the Starlight Bridge and it connects the Crescent area with the Dao canal. This bridge is a famous attraction for tourists known for the light show and water sprays off either side at night.

The Rach Thay Tieu not only functions as an important waterway for commerce, but also has transitioned to a beautiful attraction for citizens and students.

The large sheets of fabric are foldling after drying. Another creative art project will take shape from the cloth.

Painting by To Ngoc Van (Vietnamese, 1906-1954)

Vintage postcard of Saigon

THICH NHAT HANH, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, is a renowned Zen Master, poet, peace activist, author, and teacher and founder of the Engaged Buddhist movement. His books and lectures are devoted the peaceful and contentment, the practice of meditation and mindfulness. The element of water and the flow of rivers are used metaphorically in his art, calligraphy, and poetry.

In the article, Resting in the River Thich Nhat Hanh explains how resting our physical body to restore itself, and our consciousness, is important to mindfulness.
Go As A River is one in a series of calligraphies

Please Call Me By My True Names is a poem where Thich Nhat Hanh reconciles dualities, north and south. Ultimately we are are all one. I am you and you are me.

Don’t say that I will depart tomorrow–even today I am still arriving.
Look deeply: every second I am arriving to be a bud on a Spring branch, to be a tiny bird, with still-fragile wings, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.
I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, to fear and to hope. The rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive.
I am a mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river. And I am the bird that swoops down to swallow the mayfly.
I am a frog swimming happily in the clear water of a pond. And I am the grass-snake that silently feeds itself on the frog.
I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks. And I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.
I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate. And I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving.
I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my hinds. And I am the man who has to pay his “debt of blood” to my people dying slowly in a forced-labor camp.
My joy is like Spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom all over the Earth. My pain is like a river of tears, so vast it fills the four oceans.
Please call me by my true names, so I can hear all my cries and laughter at once, so I can see that my joy and pain are one.
Please call me by my true names, so I can wake up and the door of my heart could be left open, the door of compassion. 

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St. Joseph River, Michigan, USA

The St. Joseph River  is located in the southwest portion of Michigan. The St. Joseph River Watershed is important to many townships in Michigan. It spans the Michigan-Indiana border and drains over 4,000 square miles (15 counties) and empties into Lake Michigan at St. Joseph, Michigan.  

Heidi Hough spends time in St. Joseph, Chicago, and New Zealand cultivating her knowledge and care of the nature, plants, and sprouting greens.

St. Joseph River was important to native peoples dating back to 10 B.C. to the prehistoric people called the Hopewell. The Hopewell were hunter-gatherers and farmers operating a vast trading network stretching across the valleys and forests of the central United States.


The Hopewell built burial mounds in the states we now call Michigan, Illinois and Ohio. A number of other Middle Woodland period cultures are known to have been involved in the Hopewell tradition. Artifacts made from the natural resources have been discovered such as carved obsidian, bowls, and pots made from Michigan’s copper.

Two notable sites are the Norton Mound in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Hopewell Mounds in Ross County, Ohio. In the late 1800s settlers slowly eroded the mounds for the soil. French explorers, missionaries and fur traders traversed the St. Joseph River Valley during the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries interacting with the native tribes people. The French paved the way for a French settlement at Fort St. Joseph (present-day Niles) and in 1680, Fort Miami was established at the mouth of the St. Joseph River.

Parts of Michigan were settled in the early 1800s with the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. Pioneers were attracted to the unbroken plains of fertile land and waterpower possibilities.  

Settlers had to endure difficult conditions of weather and situations of disease to master the crop production of wheat and corn. St. Joseph was officially organized in 1829 with a population of one thousand people growing to seven thousand settlers by 1840. Today, the watershed is still largely agricultural. More than 50% of the riparian habitat is agricultural/urban, while 25-50% remains forested.

An interesting headline is a story about an iron factory built next to the river in 1832

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