In order to strengthen the study of suiseki in Northern California, the San Francisco Suiseki Kai and California Suiseki Society have decided to join forces, choosing the new name of Suiseki Societies of Northern California. The mission of this expanded club is to advance education in the art of Suiseki (Viewing Stones), its aesthetics and relationship to Japanese-American cultural history in California, and natural geological history through meetings, exhibitions, collecting trips and classes. SSNC will be an umbrella organization which can provide the basic infrastructure for multiple regional study groups. San Francisco Suiseki Kai and California Suiseki Society will remain as study and hobby groups under the SSNC, minimizing costs from various group memberships and using volunteer availability more efficiently. The new structure honors and acknowledges the history of suiseki in the Bay Area while creating a strong organization for the future. SSNC will be open to other Northern California suiseki clubs and newly created study groups which will benefit from improved communication regarding meeting dates, shows and exhibits and collecting opportunities.
San Francisco Suiseki Kai was founded in 1982 by a group of issei Japanese-Americans led by Eiko and Mike Iwasaki. The first teacher was Yukikichi “Keiseki” Hirotsu who had previously founded the Kashu Suiseki Kai in Palo Alto, which was the first suiseki club in North America. (SFSK was the 2nd suiseki club followed the next year by California Aiseki Kai in Los Angeles). At that time SFSK was based at the Japan Center in San Francisco and held all meetings in Japanese. In 1993, Felix Rivera, then a member of SFSK, founded the English-speaking California Suiseki Society, based in Oakland, in order to spread the knowledge of suiseki in the English-speaking community. During the 2000s SFSK made the transition to being a bi-lingual club and now conducts all activities in the English language (with side-conversations in other languages as needed!). Both clubs hold meetings and other activities primarily in Oakland, and many members belong to both clubs – so common sense finally prevailed over inertia, leading to a merger of the two clubs.
Suiseki Societies of Northern California elected the following officers: Brent Meran as president, Eorl Carlson vice president, Alise Offeman Secretary and Rick Offeman Treasurer. Candace Key is newsletter editor and will be modifying the format to include the schedules for meetings, tanseki and events for all suiseki clubs and study groups under the SSNC umbrella. Meeting days and event timing will soon be posted on the new website SuisekiNorCal.wordpress.com. Dues were determined to be $25 for individuals, $30 for families.
Planned activities will include:
- Group stone collecting trips
- At least one annual base-making workshop
- An annual club sponsored exhibit plus support for other opportunities for members to exhibit their stones
- Regular meetings both on weekday evenings in Oakland, and weekend daytime in other Bay Area locations.
The new officers determined the major club show date will be June 13-14, 2020 at the Lakeside Garden Center in Oakland, CA. In addition, club members may be exhibiting stones at the Cherry Blossom Festival in San Francisco’s Japantown April 18-19, and the REBS bonsai show August 22-23 in Santa Rosa, CA in 2020.
Anyone with questions can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Over the coming weeks additional information will also be added to this website.