Intoducing the Suiseki Societies of Northern California

January 28, 2020

Important Note to our Followers.  Our new website will be and all information for 2020 and the future will be posted to that new website.

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 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  The new organization’s website is .  Over the coming weeks additional information will be posted to that website.

Preliminary 2019 Schedule

November 9, 2018

We are working on our 2019 schedule and will have it ready to post by mid-January.  But there are a couple of important things to know:

  • The date for our New Year pot-luck Luncheon:   January 13 (Sun), 11:30 am – 3:00 pm New Year pot-luck Luncheon, Garden Room in Lakeside Garden Center, 666 Bellevue Ave, Oakland, CA.
  • From now on, the July meeting will also be a weekend potluck luncheon.  That will replace the regular evening meeting in July.  As in 2018, we hope to have this luncheon in Marin County or other North Bay location.
  • For the remaining four evening meetings (March, May, Sept, Nov), we are hoping to change the day to the 2nd Tuesday of the month (instead of the 2nd Thursday which it has been).  We are checking now to see if our meeting room is available on that new schedule.


37th Annual Exhibit Photos

August 9, 2018

Suiseki Display by Hideko Metaxas, Carol Mortensen, and Polly Gould

We held our 37th annual exhibit on August 4-5, 2018 in the San Francisco Japantown.  We had a good mix of well-known suiseki and also new ones, including several collected by newer members. The display was greatly enhanced with ikebana by Hideko Metaxas, and accent plants from her and other members.

Please click the photo to view the photo gallery.

We will also be exhibiting in Santa Rosa on August 25-26 at the 35th annual Redwood Empire Bonsai Society  exhibit at the Veteran’s Memorial Building, 1351 Maple St., Santa Rosa, CA.  Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm; Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  This is the largest bonsai exhibit in the U.S., featuring more than 200 bonsai trees.  You will also find a large club sale, lots of bonsai and suiseki vendors, and bonsai demonstrations on both days by Kathy Shaner.  Go to for more information.


Schedule Updates

April 4, 2018

The 2018 Schedule has been updated.

1) The rains this spring have managed to coincide with both of our planned collecting dates, so we had to cancel both the Clear Creek and Cache Creek trips.  We have rescheduled Clear Creek for April 28 – we are hoping for better weather!

2) We have changed the July meeting to be a weekend daytime activity  in Marin County.  It will be either a brown bag or a pot-luck luncheon and activities.  We will update the schedule when we have details.

Newcomers and visitors are most welcome at any meeting.

2018 Schedule Posted

January 20, 2018

The 2018 Schedule is posted!  We have some changes from our previous year schedules:

Three Exhibits: In addition to our own annual exhibit at the beginning of August, the club will participate in the exhibits at the San Francisco Cherry Blossom Festival in April, and the Redwood Empire Bonsai Show at the end of August.

More Collecting: The regular trips to the Eel River and to Black Butte Lake have been been scheduled this year as two-day trips for those who want to stay an additional day.  The second day of the Eel River trip will be to Williams Creek.  The second day of the Black Butte Lake trip will be to Thomes Creek.  We have again scheduled trips to Clear Creek and Cache Creek – last year we had to cancel both because of rain, so we hope this year we will be able to go.

Additional weekend daytime activity:  We hope to replace the regular July meeting with a weekend meeting, potluck luncheon, and program held in Marin County.  The schedule will be updated when the final July schedule is decided.

Photos from our 36th Annual Exhibit

September 29, 2017

We held our 36th annual exhibit on August 5-6, 2017 in Japantown in San Francisco. This year the show included some memorial stones from our first teacher, Mr. Keiseki Hirotsu, and also from long-time member, Mr. Hiroshi Suzuki.

Please click the photo to view the photo gallery, or here for a slide-show. (Note: the slideshow requires that your device support Flash).


2017 Schedule Posted

December 18, 2016

Our current schedule for 2017 is now available (click on the tab above).  Note that some dates are still to be determined and will be posted when known.  We don’t know yet how long the winter rains will last and how high the rivers will be, and this effects when and where we can go collecting in the spring.


35th Annual Exhibit Photo Gallery

September 7, 2016

Plateau (Doha); Kern River; Lisa & Phat Vo


We held our 35th annual exhibit on August 6-7, 2016 in Japantown in San Francisco. We had a lot of new stones on display this year, with a good variety of styles, including some from our newest members. One of the fun aspects to our exhibit is the opportunity to introduce suiseki to people who happen upon our show while attending the Nihonmachi Street Fair, which is also held on that same weekend of August.

Please click the photo for a slideshow from our exhibit.  (Note: if your device does not support Flash, you can click here to see the photo gallery.)


Update 2016 Schedule

March 13, 2016

The date of the April collecting trip to Cache Creek has been moved out one week to April 16.  The dates for the May and June trips are now confirmed.

Unearthed: Reviews keep coming

February 3, 2016

Glowing reviews keep appearing for the Oakland Museum exhibit, Unearthed: Found + Made. It is truly gratifying how much people who have never even thought about “viewing stones” are enjoying it.  I have created a list of the reviews on the right side of the page.