It is often said that the stones endure, from the pyramids of Egypt to the ceremonial standing stone circles that are still to be found all over northern Europe, since the dawn of time humans have used stone not just as a building material but also placed upon them special significance. In Asia the aesthetic appreciation of stones and rocks has been elevated almost to become an art form itself.

For Anna Hughes the Japanese discipline of Suiseki has become the departure point for her residency project. One of her first trips after arriving at Glenfiddich was to the Orkney islands where magnificent structures such as the Stones of Steness and the Ring of Brodgar have dominated the landscape since Neolithic times. As well as stones found on these northern isles she has also been collecting stones whose appearance, in keeping with the ethics of Suiseki, are suggestive of the features of a perfect landscape.

Joining Anna on her most recent stone hunting expedition was Rhonda, who although has now officially completed here residency has stayed on for an extra month.

The main purpose of the stone collecting was not only to provide materials for Anna’s projects  but also for use at a presentation given by Anna and Rhonda to the Dufftown Women’s Guild.

That evening in Dufftown’s Memorial Hall, the good ladies of the Guild were able to learn about Suiseki and another Japanese tradition of Haiku, a form of three line poetry where comprising of no more than seventeen syllables. Each member of the guild chose a stone and decorated it with Japanese characters and these stones will then be returned to the location from which they were first discovered. A slight difference from the normal Guild activities but one which was entered into with great spirit.