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Kudos




There are many people who have contributed to my education concerning all forms of viewing stones. At first I had a difficult time finding any meaningful information and it was very frustrating. I do not live in one of the hot spots such as California. Nor was there a lot of interest in 'suiseki' within my bonsai environment. Such stones were sometimes used as an accent for bonsai on display, but were otherwise ignored.

I studied the book The Japanese Art of Stone Appreciation, Suiseki and Its Use with Bonsai by Yuji Yoshimura and Dr. Vincent Covello and began looking for stones that met some of the criteria described in their book. I finally found one that reminded me of a mountain and began trying to create a wood stand for it. I was incredibly proud of that first effort (and still am today) even though it is very rough and only looks somewhat like a "dai" or "daiza". I learned.

Mr. John Naka's book, Bonsai Techniques II was also of very great value in allowing me to learn different types of suiseki and some of the subtle things to look for in a truly memorable stone.

However I really got my start at a meeting of the San Antonio Bonsai Society when Val Faleski showed me a new magazine called Waiting To Be Discovered, published by Jim Hayes. Val knew my interest in suiseki and was correct in assuming that I would be interested. I copied the address and wrote to the publisher, Jim Hayes, the very next day. Jim started the 'North American Viewing Stone Society' (NAVSS) with Waiting To Be Discovered as the quarterly publication and I was fortunate enough to have been a charter member until the demise of the organization. I learned so much from Jim and his aclaimed group of contributors. I began doing more research and that is also when I became interested in Chinese and Korean stones.

When the NAVSS went away I was at a loss. I tried joining other established clubs such as the California Suiseki Society, but that did not meet my needs. I bought all the English language books I could find. Melba Tucker's book was the first, then Felix Rivera's. Melba's was an eye-opener because of the wealth of desert stones and their unique qualities.

Most recently my friend Alex Shum bought me a Chinese book when he went to Hong Kong, which was intriguing but difficult to understand without reading the language. Alex did translate some of it for me and I loved the pictures.

When Russ Lane went to Korea he bought me several Korean books on Suseok. That was my first exposure to Korean stones, stands, displays, etc. and I was fascinated with their form - so similar and yet distinct from the Japanese art. In Italy, Marco Favero was also searching for information on Korean viewing stones. He met the acquaintenance of Dr. Byung Ju Lee who provided Marco with the first English information on the Korean form of this art. After that I at least had the correct transliteration for 'suseok' and was finally able to find some Korean sites on the web. Some have lots of pictures, so even though I don't speak the language I can see their art, their stands, the way they display viewing stones. They are very organizaed. All of that helped. One Korean site even has an extensive movie of a group looking for stones. When I saw how many thousands of stones rested along the riverbank I was supremely jealous. But I get along.

Now everyone helps me look for stones. On a recent vacation trip to Arizona my wife's family stopped several times in New Mexico and Arizona just so I could look for stones. My Mother-in-law picks up potential stones wherever she goes. My daughter brought me a stone she found while out running. I love them all.












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