Archive for the ‘Suiseki’ Category

San Francisco suiseki

1 August 2010

Last month the California Suiseki Society had its 15th annual show in the Lakeside Garden Center. It was a sublime exhibit with an attentive audience.


The best photo I got that afternoon is this stone by Jim Broadhurst. See more of the stones here and here.


There is an older suiseki society across the bay, San Francisco Suiseki Kai. They are such purists that until recently they did not even use English, but their current president, Janet Roth, is an Anglophone. Their 29th annual exhibit is coming up next weekend: August 7 and 8, 10 am to 4 pm, in the Japan Center, at the Union Bank Hospitality Room at 1675 Post Street. The collectors themselves award winners of the exhibit by voting for their favorite stones. Me, I love finding out where the stones come from, then scratching my head in happy confusion at the mixture of thoughts, aesthetic and geologic, that arise as I contemplate them.

Janet Roth couldn’t resist saying in her note to me announcing the show, “Of course, if the legislature outlaws serpentine we will be in a pickle.”

Suiseki time again

12 June 2009

I brought up the topic of suiseki last summer, and now it’s that time again. This weekend, Saturday and Sunday, is the annual suiseki show at the Lakeside Garden Center from 10 to 5, no charge.


This was one of the stones on display at the 2005 show. It’s part of my gallery of Earth art on, too.

Unfortunately I must miss this show. Fortunately, I will be touring the gold mines of the Sierra foothills instead.

Suiseki and gongshi—in Oakland?

4 August 2008


Sunday I visited the Garden Center in Lakeside Park, including the bonsai garden, an attraction not to be missed. This large gongshi stone ushers you toward the entrance. The photo is from 2005 (click full size), because at the moment the stone has a wire around its waist holding up a small tree. It reminded me too much of a leashed animal, and I hope they remove it soon. Gongshi stones generally come from China, where the art form arose many centuries ago. This one is a white, deformed crystalline limestone that weathered and eroded into its arresting shape. Inside the bonsai garden there are several interesting California stones in various places. They are not quite suiseki, merely decorative rocks. This is a suiseki:

suiseki by lance plaza

It was collected in California and mounted in its wooden daiza by Lance Plaza for the 2006 suiseki show, in the Garden Center. I’ve enjoyed several of these annual events, but for some reason missed this year’s. Had I gone to San Francisco instead, that very afternoon I could have seen the annual show of the San Francisco suiseki society. But Oakland has a goodly share of suiseki artists, including the bloggers Mas Nakajima and Janet Roth.

These art forms are a braintwister for geologists. We tend to dwell on what the stone says rather than what it is—or is that the other way around?