L’Isle River, Aquitaine, France


Dominique Archambeaud dipped cloth in the I’Isle from the home called “Le Bleuil,” located in the commune of Saint Martial d’Artenset in the Dordogne region of France. The Isle is a 255-kilometres (158 miles) long tributary of the Dordogne that flows south-west in south-western France. Its source is in the north-western Massif Central.

1894woodengraving 1894 wood engraving of the Dordogne Region, France

1578Map of France, 1578Painter, Dordogne River, FranceA painting of a painter painting in Dordogne, mid 1800s

Verversingskanaal, The Haag, The Netherlands

The Murphy family lived in the western part of Holland in The Haag for two years. Before moving to the United States they took white cloth and sat along the great canal, Verversingskanaal, to dip fabric in the water and capture part of a story.


The formation of the Netherlands took place after the last Ice Age as sea levels began to rise and fill the lowland plain that is now the North Sea. The incoming sea created barrier walls along the higher land mass. Silt from flowing rivers settled behind these natural barriers creating a layers of rich peat over the centuries. Channels, canals, and dikes were formed in the Middle Ages to drain these bogs in order to take advantage of the soil and control intrusive salt water. Today, sea levels continue to rise and water management is a topic in need of constant attention. The regional complexities can be seen in this PDF report “Water management of the Netherlands.”

The Haag (Hague) is the capital city of South Holland and is the seat of the Government in the Netherlands.  Founded around 1230 The Haag has a history of Dutch, French, and British influences as well as from the East Indies, now Indonesia, where Dutch Colonies were established. The Haag was home to the insightful painter Jan Steen (1626-1679) and dancer turned spy Mata Hari (1876-1917.)


Here is an etching  by Joannes Clericus of a sperm whale, 70 feet long, that beached itself on the coast between the districts of Scheveningen and Katwijkn in February 1598. The Netherlands have a heritage that melds marine aquaculture, the use of wind power, and glorious indigenous flowers.


The Verversingskannaal meeting the North Sea in 1949. As long as fresh water continues to run in sufficient amounts the problem of salinisation is kept under control. However, The Netherlands are getting saltier due to the increasing amounts of seawater and brackish groundwater seeping into the surface fresh water.1900

The “Ring of Canals” is normally associated with the City of Amsterdam, but The Haag also has a city center that was surrounded by a 400 year history of dense water routes, though much smaller. Canals originally served the purpose of security, and facilitated import and export trade.

There are only a few canals in The Hague, as most of these were drained in the late 19th century. The few remaining canals have high waters that fill the covering bridges, causing boaters to bend over to pass under the tight squeeze. Canal restoration plans are being discussed to open passageways for efficient mobility.


In 2000, The Haag was host to the Sixth Session the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference (COP6 – UNFCCC.) Noteworthy is the recent development (2011) of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, or simply The Hague Institute. The Hague Institute is addresses issues at the intersection of peace, security and justice. Most recently (2014) there was a roundtable discussion to gather a concrete action plan concerning Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the effects of climate change.

If you don’t understand this notion of danger, start by watching this trailer “The Island President,” which documents the struggles of the shrinking Maldives. Islands to watch are the Marshall Islands, Kiribati, the Carteret Islands, Vanuatu, much of Bangladesh. The displacement of our first environmental refugees need to be noticed and given attention.

Ohio, Allegheny & Monongahela, Penn., USA

The Post Gazette reports on the winter weather in January 2014

Allegheny_Monongahela_OhioU.S. Army Corps of Engineers circa 1998.

Tourist postcard of the mid 20th century

Coal barges at the confluence of Allegheny and Monongahela rivers – 1910

In the mid 1700’s the Colonial iron industry bolstered coal mining in Pennsylvania. The state produces two kinds of coal, hard and soft. Coal Hill, across the Monongahela River from the city of Pittsburgh and now Mount Washington, is the location of a coal stream, a vast layer of coal in the earth. The Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio rivers played an important role in transporting the coal and influencing the growth of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills in the 1800’s. By 1830, the city of Pittsburgh consumed more than 400 tons per day and dubbed “Smoky City.” The coal industry continued to grow with the expansion of the railroad and ship building, followed by the height of the industrial revolution. In 1995, Pennsylvania was the fourth largest coal producing state in the United States.  Over 10 billion tons of coal has been mined in 21 Pennsylvania counties during the past 200 years of mining.  This is about one fourth of all coal ever mined in the United States.

The Point Bridge, circa 1900
The Point Bridge,circa 1900, that spans the Monongahela River


Map of 1795


Artist Todd Sanders is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge to form the Ohio River. He dipped three individual small white cloths in the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela rivers.

Visit Todd’s online Press and Etsy shop for a peek into his studio practice.

Paro Chhu and Wang Chhu Rivers, Paro, Bhutan

The Paro Chhu is a river of western Bhutan and a tributary of the Wang Chhu River. Here, two white silk Khatas are dipped in each river. IMG_6745 copyLandscape architect, Jennifer Chandler, spends part of her year between the United States and the enchanted area of Bhutan. She is a lover of nature, space, and scents who spends time in the hills of Bhutan with her camera. On one trip she took a piece of white cloth to dip in the mountain water.

The Paro Chhu River:

The Wang Chhu River, with a Khata blessed by H.H. Gylsen Rabgye at the Tango Monstary:

A display of reverence occurs where both rivers meet. IMG_5118 copy IMG_5125 copy