It lies in my personal conviction that the spirit of the art of suiseki is not linked inextricable to a beautiful stone, which you cannot even have found after a life long of searching, as Matsuura once said. For me, the art of suiseki is, when you reach a total winning concept, when a good stone is presented in symbiosis with a wooden base (daiza), and this in the correct context.



A wooden base must elevate a stone in beauty, without dominating it. But it must be made in such way so that it adds dignity and poetry, in such a manner that each stone which has a little potential, formes effortless one whole with the base. It can not provide a topic, text or words to the head role player (the stone); but it must be nevertheless determinative in introducing a subject, without being exaggerated visible.

Because it takes very much time and devotion to make a succeeding daiza, the same question is asked regularly: Why do you put so much time in refining the interior or the belly of the daiza, as it is never seen? Answer: Don’t you wear your fancy underwear under your party dress? To keep appearances high, or in search of improvement of formality? What an unpleasant surprise for the hard-working witness who raises the stone to assess it’s integrity! This is a question of respect, and not simply to obtain a good score with the jury. ETHICS : Respect for the beloved object: the stone. Being coherent with yourself, he or she who is making the dai of a suiseki.



The inside of the carved part is as the palm of my hand, and this mean s: the stone fits good in the base, without misleading tricks. (without an approaching filling or by using plaster)



The bottom of a daiza is like the back of my hand :







The correct way of working the bottom or the belly stipulates the succes of a daiza in a large degree: a flowing and harmonious platform which forms a good construction to hold the stone.


To mark the lines or notes of the contour of a stone before carving, I do not use a pencil but a pen or a ballpoint: too often I have nervously demolished a point of a pencil. The line which must be drawn is often not simple or straight. Often the line follows narrow and deep coves which are real minefields… for the point of a pencil.


If I draw the contour lines of the gullying, I start slightly on the other side of the inside.
Inch by inch the stone falls, and always I copy the line in such a manner it accompanies the borders of the stone downwards, even when they are rectangular. (and this happens frequently!)



When carving the daiza, you have to follow the outlines of the flanks of the stone very precisely, each time you lower the stone. Otherwise you will have empty spaces between the outlines of the stone and the base.





To repeatedly remove wood in gradual steps will cost much time; but adding wood where it is not there is impossible, no matter how much time has gone lost. And if one makes a mistake, one must start again! Everything from the beginning, at least if you are lucky that the size of your wooden tablet permits this.


At the first phase of the carving, time can be gained by using a mounted mill.

From my own experience I recommend to hollow out the belly first with a larger mill. Afterwards you follow the outlines (marked with a pen) with a round cylindrical burr.



Once you roughly made a carving for placing the stone with a mounted mill, we continue our work using small hand held rotary tools, using carbon-paper between the wood and the stone to update the contact points of the stone on the wooden base.


Also on a stone, which seems to have a flat or simple base, you can always see that they show an irregular movement.


The slope of the gullying can be obtained easely by using a conical sanding burr.


With the sanding burr I also remove the burning marks, which are the result of the milling work. I connect the lines and make them softer. The sanding burr mounted on a flexible shaft, is my chisel, the pencil which corrects the model of my daiza, while I hold the wooden tablet sturdy with my other free hand.


Be sure the heigth of the cylinder corresponds when doing this: the creation of two temporary cornices. When needed, you can sand off or soften the corners.


When using a wooden tablet, you can saw or mill it to the desired thickness. Sometimes you can divide the board in two, if the thickness allows this. This last solution does not cost much time and effort, in particular if you use a type like mahogany, which delivers powdery sawdust. And it will save you on precious wood.


With a stone in the category “object stone”, it is not only essential to choose the correct front, but the slope angle between stone and daiza is of just as great importance, from which strength originates in the expression. Therefore, it’s not only a quest for balance, but also a search of movements which reflect the feeling of the form of the stone.



There are still an infinite number of matters to tell about this: concerning the outline of the flanks, perimeter lines, the feet and thousand other tips: concerning the colour, concerning sanding the fibres, concerning the lacquering work and the polishing, which gives a patina of old age to the daiza. It is impossible to talk about the patina of suiseki without taking into account the harmony between the stone and the form of it’s daiza…..

I will tell you more about it, at least if that is what you want!