by Craig Coussins
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Conventions and Demos Craig's Suiseki
Testimonials from Organisations Chinese styles
About Craig Coussins Website building
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Craig's Landscapes Antique Pots
Singing Bowls Modern Pots
Native American Flutes-to come Links to Bonsai Clubs and websites
Questions Tools for Bonsai

Suiban Page


This was the Suiseki Display mounted by Craig Coussins in March 2003 at Bath England. The length is 16 feet by 8 feet

In 2005Craig showed some of his collection at the first North West Bonsai Convention. The stand was 40 feet long.

 

Suiseki

While Bonsai is his love, Suiseki has been Craig's passion (apart from his gorgeous wife of course) and he has been quietly collecting for nearly 25 years. Starting originally by seeing mountain shapes in the beautiful Granite rocks he brought from Barra in the Outer Hebrides, he soon found other interesting stones from all over the world during his travels
 

LINKS:
If you are a collector of Stones, Suiseki, Suisok or Gong Shi and would like to link to me please link this page as the entry page to the site www.bonsaiinformation/suiseki.htm and email me with your web site for a reciprocal link in my link pages.

The Suiban Page: A selection of Suibans from the Coussins Collection. One nice thing about taking up the hobby of Suiseki is that you don't need to take any geology courses  at a place like Kaplan University to enjoy the stones. However, taking some basic courses at military friendly colleges like Kaplan University could make the hobby more fun for you. You certainly don't need a degree in the field, but taking a couple of courses at military friendly colleges in your area will help you be able to identify the composition of your stone and sometimes even the general age of it. Instead of telling your friends "Look at this neat rock!" you can say "Look at this beautiful piece of basalt with flecks of obsidian and quartz in it!" You'll also learn the three types of rock (igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic) which will give you clues as to how the stone came into being. So, although geology classes are by no means necessary, taking a couple courses at your local university wouldn't be a bad idea if you find a growing passion for
Suiseki.

 

 

Links to my Suiseki Pages

> Links to my Suiseki Pages

> Suiseki Gallery

> Waterfall Suiseki

> Mountain and Plateau Style Suiseki

> South African Mountain Stone

> Chinese and Indonesian Stones

> Some more of Craig's Suiseki

> Interesting Stones, Patterns,
   People and Animals

>Animal Shapes Stone and others part 2

>Daizas, Suibans and tables for display


Collecting Sites
I Have Used

The Beaches of Scotland are a great place for finding suiseki.
 
One of my favourite collecting sites - the deep valleys of the heart of my native land of Scotland.
 
The amazing rock formations of Devon and Cornwall in the South of England.
 
The high Sierras of Spain are also my favourite sites. My family have lived in Spain for many years. I especially love El Torcal
 




 

 

 

 

 


His collection is quite eclectic and while he has no particular type of rock he prefers, he enjoys finding rocks with naturally flat bases rather than cutting them....much to the chagrin of other collectors. Some of his collection will rotate on this site and as it extends to over 2000 specimens, viewers will find something to interest them here. Most of the Studio Photo's of Craig's Suiseki and other stones are by Fay Yerbury. Craig has the Daizas made for most of his stones nowadays by the wonderful Sean Smith in Pennsylvania and other talented carvers such as Tony Sarraceno in Oakland.


What is a Suiseki?

When I first started to collect stones in 1972 it was for my fish tank. I discovered that some of these stones looked just like mountains. These graced my Bonsai benches and many visitors to my Bonsai Garden went away with a little piece of Barra in the Western Isles of Scotland. The interesting thing is that when most Westerners start to collect Suiseki they invariably like the mountain stones first and eventually get on to the more aesthetic shapes later on.

Although I preferred a flat base I sometimes cut a little into the base to 'flatten' it so that the stone could stand. Subsequently some of my early stones are cut. I started looking for natural flat bases as the problems of cutting were either that the cutter did not do exactly what I wanted or they were becoming too expensive.

I still have some of my early cut stones and I occasionally buy cut stones if I like the overall look of the piece but I now prefer only natural flat based stones.

Today all my stones are naturally flat inasmuch as I do not cut any stone I find. The fun for me is to find flat base stones that convey the impression of the landscape I can understand and to have an equally nice view from the back and even the sides. This reflects my philosophy in Bonsai where I teach that you do not just have a front but also have a Back, Sides and Front.

So if you want to get into my good books, bring me a nice flat based stone that looks like a landscape from your country and I will give you one from mine.

 

Note from a audio visual lecture prepared by Bill Jordan and spoken by me included the following paragraph:

Oda Nobunaga (1534 -1582 )overthrew the Ashikaga shogunate, was known to be an enthusiastic collector of both Zen-inspired garden stones and miniature landscape stones. In one incident, he is said to have sent a miniature landscape stone, named "Eternal Pine Mountain" together with a fine tea bowl, in exchange for the Ishiyama fortress
(currently the site of Osaka castle) in 1850.


There are many hundreds of other Suiseki throughout this website. Please visit. Thank you to the many friends who also allowed me to include some of their own wonderful stones on my pages. Please note that no image can be duplicated on any other site without express permission from Craig Coussins. All images are copyright.
 

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A display of Suiseki and Gongshi from the Coussins Collection: The Joy of Bonsai 2005, Bath England on the 7th and 8th of May.
 
Craig Coussins:
Craig Coussins has been collecting viewing stones since 1975 when he was involved in a tropical fish shop in Scotland. The first stones he collected came from Barra in the outer Hebrides and these were used in the shops display tanks and were sold as ornamentation for his customers. Craig had already been into Bonsai since 1971 and had seen the rare mention of Susieki ion the available Japanese Books at that time and he realised that the unique stones from Barra were indeed like the mountain stones that he had seen. Over the next few years Craig's Barra Stones found new homes in most  of his friends collections such as John Naka and the Nippon Suiseki Association . His Suiseki have been exhibited in Japan at the Kokofu 10  where Suiseki were sent to be exhibited ( being shown in the Photobooks produced for this event) and many other places around the globe. They have been a regular feature in the five best selling Bonsai Books that Craig has written. Presently, Craig has a collection of over two thousand stones covering most of the styles and concepts and while his main passion is still Bonsai his stone collection continues to grow. His collecting sites are in Italy, Africa, Canada, America, Australia, Spain, France,  China and of course the UK. Craig travels around the world most of the year teaching Bonsai and promoting and  collecting Suiseki on his many trips when he can.
 
Suiseki:
Imagine holding an entire mountain range in one hand? Used in meditation to allow the mind to wander for a few moments, the art of Susieki and Gongshi is indeed become very popular in the United Kingdom as well as around the world. Gongshi are Chinese Scholars stones because these were often seen in the collections of teachers and scholars and used as an aid to meditation, they are becoming a popular hobby once more in China as the country undergoes a renaissance in discovery of its art history once again. Gongshi are mainly abstract in shape and many things can be seen in the same stone by different people. Susieki are viewing stones that have originated  as an art from Japan. For the past two thousand years the appreciation of natural stones that look like objects, mountains , animals, boats and landscapes have been part of the ancient cultures of China, Korea and Japan. In the west the hobby has been steadily growing through some leading collectors showing their own stones in major exhibitions and museums. Some Scholars Stones and Susieki can change hands for a few pounds or  many thousands of pounds while there are some exquisite Suiseki that have been sold in exceess of one million dollars and even been exchanged for castles and lands.. Heady stuff for a stone.
 
" Oda Nobunaga (1534 -1582 )overthrew the Ashikaga shogunate, was known to be an enthusiastic collector of both Zen-inspired garden stones and miniature landscape stones. In one incident, he is said to have sent a miniature landscape stone, named "Eternal Pine Mountain" together with a fine tea bowl, in exchange for the Ishiyama fortress (currently the site of Osaka castle) in 1580" (Ref: Bill Jordan 1999)
 
While this stone is not on display, there is a similar one and a fine tea bowl in a Suiban created for this event by Dan Barton
 
 
The Exhibit:
The stones exhibited range through various styles and illustrate some of the finest Suiseki in the UK at this time. These include Chinese Scholars Stones , Abstract stones and Susieki in various styles. Many of the stones are on Daizas, the hand made wood stands carved specially for each stone, which have been created by Sean Smith the worlds leading Daiza Carver outside Japan, and on Suibans , trays in ceramic by some of the leading artists in the UK including Dan Barton. Also shown in this exhibit are some rare Dhobans, hand made Suibans in bronze. Craig's favourite Suiseki is one he collected in Liguria with a beautiful Dazia created by Tony Sarraceno from California for this special suiseki, a natural flat based stone of 8 inches long and showing an entire range of mountains with a volcano in the middle. This looks exactly like Ben Lomond, the mountain range that over looks Loch Lomond in Scotland near Craig's home. i.
 
Some of the Susieki are displayed on Tables or Dai They are hardwood tables created for Craig Coussins and suitable for the display of top quality Bonsai as well as Stones.

 

 

Conventions and Demos Craig's Suiseki
Testimonials from Organisations Chinese Styles
About Craig Coussins Website building
Articles and Books  Humour and trips with Craig
Craig's Landscapes Antique Pots
Singing Bowls Modern Pots
Native American Flutes-to come Links to Bonsai Clubs and websites
Questions Tools for Bonsai