Suiseki. When you hear this term what image comes to mind? Does it invoke a feeling, a mood or desire?
Each of us may have a different reaction from 1) Oh! a bunch of rocks on display; 2) that is a beautiful stone; or, 3) contemplation, visualization, recognition and appreciation.
Some of us have been fortunate to collect suiseki books from Japan or China that has a history deep in appreciation for this art form. In this country we have several fine books such as Beyond the Black Mountain by Jim Greaves, Chrysanthemum Stones by Thomas S. Elias and Hiromi Nakaoji and Suiseki – The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stone by Felix G. Rivera; I’m sure there are many others but these happen to be in our collection and used as references.
In the US we have only a few suiseki club shows each year. A more national show has been conducted on the East Coast and from what I can ascertain this has been a success.
To those with the love and passion to publish, I understand that passion. So much so KJ and I have been fortunate enough to design two of the most prominent self-publishing book platforms in the US: Blurb and MyPublisher and we have worked with Apple and Adobe in architecting their back-end publishing systems.
Less than 7 years ago, if you wanted to print your own book, then you were going to pay an arm and a leg per copy or you were going to make a huge commitment to pre-purchase a lot of copies (read 1,000) in order to get your price down. In 2003, we began working with MyPublisher to create one of the very first self-publishing platforms in the US. With the advent of the digital press the one-off publishing industry was launched. Today, you can easily create, print and publish your book for often as low as under $10. Just a few months ago, we published a book on Revelation from the New Testament with 160 pages in black and white at the shipping cost of under $10 per book.
I say this only to make this point – there is really nothing that stands in the way of creating an affordable book on American Suiseki that would showcase the many “hidden away” collections that are sitting on display shelves, garden benches or bedroom closets.
I truly would like to photograph and publish a book on American Suiseki. Is this a large project – yes, most worthwhile projects are of this magnitude.
KJ and I are blessed with the appropriate photography equipment and software plus inside knowledge of the pre-press process with many friends still at Blurb so that we can obtain a good price to publish this book.
We have done sufficient experimentation with Mas, Janet and others to believe we have a process that will allow us to shoot efficiently and document the stones appropriately.
We are willing to spend the money to come to 5-6 geographical locations across the US to shoot the stones if we can find those whose love for this project is equal to ours and who are willing to arrange a location for us to shoot. If you think you are interested then drop us a line and we can begin to discuss the logistical needs for this kind of shoot. For those interested in the process then refer to our previous post – Suiseki Photography – Part II.
There will be guidelines for the book, how it is published, acknowledgements etc. This is not a commercial adventure – we do not intend to make money from this project. Frankly there are much better ways to make not only more money but to do it with less hassle and significantly faster!
This book is being published to help educate the public on what we love about suiseki as well as to document some of the wonderful stones found all across the US. This book is not being created to compete with other books. If you think that – please do not contact us. Frankly, we are sick and tired of the pettiness and jealously that permeates our art.
This book is being done out of a tremendous appreciation for the art form and to showcase the hours spent by literally hundreds of unknown collectors who have spent hundreds of hours collecting in American rivers, streams and lakes without recognition. We would love to include biographies of early US collectors. Having pictures of them and their stones would be priceless in our opinion.
Is it possible? We think so. Will it take time and money? Yes, it will take considerably more of both that I’m sure we can imagine. But if we team up together, use a little imagination, and exhibit a great deal of patience in the process and with each other – we can do this. Don’t you think so?
We do. So much so that we have registered the domain http://americansuiseki.com this morning. We hope to put more info up on that site as we progress and create a blog so that others can follow the creation of the book including photos of the shoot, people assisting the shoot, the book layout etc. I hope you believe as we do that incorporating this kind of social media through the progress be engaging, education and expose us to the wonderful stones throughout our country. We would love to hear your thoughts. If you would please take the following poll.