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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

Archive of past events: 2004 through 2014

Suiseki / Viewing Stones of California

Opening Reception: Friday, February 1 at 5:00 p.m.
         Presentations: Friday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m.

Exhibit remains through February 24, 2013
Gualala Arts Center

Peter Mullins Open House: Saturday - Sunday, February 2 - 3 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

BCI Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine Q1 2013 cover
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BCI Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine Q1 2013 article
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BCI Bonsai & Stone Appreciation Magazine Q1 2013 calendar
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Above courtesy of: Bonsai &
Stone Appreciation Magazine
Gualala Arts presents an exhibit of suiseki / viewing stones from the opening reception on Friday, February 1 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., through February 24 in the Burnett Gallery, Jacob Foyer and throughout the Arts Center grounds.

Following the reception, there will be presentations from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. featuring exhibit curator Peter Mullins, James Greaves, Michael Reilly and Art Horvath.

Suiseki, a Japanese term, is the abbreviation of "san-sui-kei-jyo-seki" or "landscape scene stone." Suiseki (pronounced suu-ee-seck-ee) are natural stones that suggest natural scenes or animal and human figures.

The display and appreciation of natural stones was introduced to Japan from China some 1400 years ago, and was gradually adapted to Japanese taste and culture. Collected in the wild, on mountains and in streambeds, and then displayed in their natural state, these stones are objects of great beauty.

They are also sophisticated tools for inner reflection that stir in all who see them an appreciation for the awesome power of the universe. While honoring the history and culture of suiseki, California "viewing stone" collectors often depart from this tradition in color, pattern and abstract form.

California is 'Mecca' for collectors, with the Eel River being ground zero. As curator and participant in this exhibit, our local stone-worker and collector, Peter Mullins of Gualala, has invited some of the state's uniquely qualified "stoners" to bring stones to show, for sale and to offer tales of their stone adventures.

There will be a presentation by James Greaves (Santa Monica), discussing the collecting and displaying of viewing stones. Mr. Greave's collection measures in the thousands. James has written the authoritative book on American suiseki, American Viewing Stones. He is also the prime mover behind the American Viewing Stone Resource Center and has entered into a close working relationship with the Huntington Library Botanical Gardens in San Marino, CA.

Michael Reilly of Albion will offer a video and commentary about his helicopter access to the Eel River to collect stones on his property. Michael recently received first place award from BCI (Bonsai Clubs International) for a "viewing rock" taken from the American River, which was featured in Bonsai & Stone Appreciation magazine.

Art Horvath, of Ideal Quarry in Mt. Shasta, quarries boulders from the Siskiyou, Trinity & Shasta County areas and slabs them with a large self-designed wire saw to make tables, benches, etc.

A slab from Art's quarry is being gifted to Gualala Arts to replace the "Gualala Arts Center" entrance sign. A by-product of Art's work has produced "super-sized suiseki" pieces, ranging in weight up to 400 lbs. and growing.

Botryoidal Jade from North Fork Eel River, Michael Reilly, Albion, CA & Peter Mullins, Gualala, CA
Botryoidal Jade from North Fork Eel River
Michael Reilly, Albion, CA &
Peter Mullins, Gualala, CA
Jasper from Eel River, Jim Greaves, Santa Monica, CA
Jasper from Eel River
Jim Greaves, Santa Monica, CA

Stonework Ruin
Stonework Ruin
On Saturday and Sunday, February 2 and 3, events will move to the Mullins residence where members of the Stone Foundation (of which Peter is a member) will be working for the fifth year on a new stone project. Past projects include building a stage coach station ruin, a pyramid-shaped green house, plus numerous walls and walk-ways. There will also be more opportunities to purchase viewing stones. To attend the open house, go north on Highway One to Fish Rock Road, turn right onto Fish Rock to 44600 Fish Rock.

Now on display in the Jacob Foyer through February is a beautiful example of suiseki. Called "Marble Mountains," it is 104 lbs. of black and red marble, which was "walked" out of the Mojave Desert by Paul Lindhart of Art City, Ventura. It sits in a nest of red brick dust (from Castaic, CA) in a redwood daiza (a stand or platform) designed by Michael Reilly and created by John Valdez.

Black & Red Marble from Mojave Desert, Paul Lindhart, Art City, Ventura, CA
Black & Red Marble from Mojave Desert
Paul Lindhart, Art City, Ventura, CA

For more information about suiseki and viewing stones, the following make good reference materials:

  • Suiseki: The Asian Art of Beautiful Stones
    By Willi Benz

  • The Japanese Art of Stone Appreciation - Suiseki and Its Use with Bonsai
    By Vincent T. Covello and Yuji Yoshimura

  • Suiseki - The Japanese Art of Miniature Landscape Stones
    By Felix G. Rivera

  • The Stone Foundation at and its publication Stonexus

Serpentine from Trinity River, Art Horvath, Mt. Shasta, CA & Peter Mullins, Gualala, CA
Serpentine from Trinity River
Art Horvath, Mt. Shasta, CA & Peter Mullins, Gualala, CA

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.