Artist Andreas Kunert is dwarfed by a fireplace currently under construction at the Ancient Art of Stone studio and store front in Duncan. This is only two thirds of the fireplace, there is a third piece that will be added to the top. Don Denton photography

Artist Andreas Kunert is dwarfed by a fireplace currently under construction at the Ancient Art of Stone studio and store front in Duncan. This is only two thirds of the fireplace, there is a third piece that will be added to the top. Don Denton photography

Art from the Earth at Ancient Art of Stone

Artists Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettle create rock artworks for the home and landscape

  • Sep. 25, 2018 8:45 a.m.

– Story by Sean McIntyre

Story courtesy of Boulevard Magazine, a Black Press Media publication

Like Boulevard Magazine on Facebook and follow them on Instagram

Andreas Kunert likes to keep things simple when people ask what he does for a living.

“I tell them I like stones,” he says.

Dig a little deeper, and you’ll begin to realize why his default response barely scratches the surface of the business he and his spouse Naomi Zettl have created in the Cowichan Valley.

“You can describe it all you like but it isn’t until we show them a photo that the jaw drops and they say, ‘I had no idea.’”

It’s much the same reaction of visitors who walk into the couple’s studio gallery, tucked away in an industrial strip on the outskirts of Duncan. It’s here where Andreas and Naomi fuse their combined creativity, skill and emotion to celebrate and honour the world’s most primal materials.

For more than a decade, Ancient Art of Stone has built an international reputation by offering sublime stonework creations for both indoor and outdoor use in numerous public and private projects. Treasured stones, crystals and gems hewn from sources around the world are interwoven in natural patterns to make impressive murals, doorways, fireplaces, sculptures and furnishings.

One project in particular stands out over the past several months. Andreas and Naomi have pieced together a towering fireplace enclosure destined to crown the living room of a luxurious fishing hideaway. The five-metre-tall structure comprises hundreds of carefully selected river stones, basalt columns, a petrified wood hearth and mantel and beautiful semi-precious crystal accents carefully placed to form the mesmerizing swirls and illusion of waves that characterizes much of the couple’s work. Once complete this fall, the piece will be split into three segments, loaded on a flatbed truck and hauled nearly 1,500 kilometres to its permanent home in the foothills of Montana.

“I don’t think anyone who has hired us ever really knew what was coming,” says Andreas. “When they walk through the door of our workshop, they’re full of questions. However, by the end, they’re sometimes in tears due to the connection they have developed through the energy of the stones.”

Andreas can’t recall exactly when he was struck with the inspiration for his work. He does, however, recall not surviving very long during his early apprenticeship as a stonemason. There was something too regimented and linear about the endless placing of stone upon stone. Almost absentmindedly, he began experimenting with various stones, creating curious patterns he’d eventually learn were linked to the principles of a phenomenon known as sacred geometry.

“I didn’t realize what I was seeing until somebody explained it to me,” he says. “Fortunately, people began expressing an interest and asking for this type of work. It grew from a very obscure idea to what it is today.”

Stone artists Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettle in their Duncan studio and store front. Don Denton photography

Sacred geometry is rooted in ancient principles which provided the foundation for many of the world’s oldest buildings and structures. The shapes and patterns form the basis of the engineering principles that built bridges, temples and cathedrals. By observing the built and natural world that surrounded them, philosophers in ancient Greece surmised that the universe was modelled on a vast and divinely inspired geometric grid. The belief persisted into the 16th and 17th centuries, when mathematicians and physicists like Carl Friedrich Gauss and Johannes Kepler began to delve into the geometric order of our solar system.

Over the course of any given day, one might spot a trace of sacred geometry in any number of scenes, be it as intimate as a flower blossom or chaotic as a hurricane.

“Our stone artwork contains the same patterns and shapes found in sacred geometry. Combined with the stone’s energy, our work affects people on a neuro-aesthetic and energetic level,” says Naomi.

There’s essentially something integral to the stone and its placement that appeals to and soothes us on a primal level.

“It’s understanding that the stone is the most ancient spirit of the world, the most ancient voice to help us remember who we are and help us feel a connection to the natural world,” she says. “This ancient spirit awakens your spirit. People are deeply in need of this, especially in our digital world in which people are less and less connected to the natural.”

Naomi grew up on the plains of southern Saskatchewan, where she’d frequently discover ancient arrowheads and sacred rocks left behind by the region’s Indigenous peoples. Her early love of stone, mixed with a fine arts degree and work as a painter and sculptor, took her on a mystical path that eventually led her to Andreas.

The result of their combined love, passion and purpose is the Ancient Art of Stone.

Almost as exciting as the work itself, she says, is watching as people react to the element’s transformational energy. Prior to setting out on any project, Andreas and Naomi take time to sit and talk to prospective clients. They seek a sense of the client’s personality and interests. Each detail, be it a birth stone or favoured pastime, contributes in some way to the puzzle of the final masterpiece.

Andreas and Naomi refer to their finished pieces as soul portraits.

“It’s not just art,” Naomi says. “We are really creating legacies for people.”

Stone work in a one of a kind door by artists Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettle. Don Denton photography

The couple has received widespread coverage in art journals and has cultivated a loyal following on social media. One of their pieces, a fireplace built for the director of Disney World Imagineering, has generated more than 400 million views on Facebook. In View Royal, where the couple completed a retaining wall along the Island Highway, some folks who’d initially objected to the elaborate piece of municipal infrastructure were hugging the artists in appreciation once the wall was completed.

“We’re really interested in honouring the natural elements and understanding how they affect our lives, how we really need them and how they help us,” Naomi says. “I believe the stone has a spirit. In Buddhist and Indigenous philosophies, everything has a spirit, everything is alive; that’s why I feel we are drawn to certain pieces, these ancient stones have an energy that can connect and help people in their lives.”

Ancient Art of StoneAndreas KunertArchitectureArtCrystalsHome decorInterior decoratingInterior designlandscapingRockSacred geometryStonework

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Art from the Earth at Ancient Art of Stone

Just Posted

This painting is a piece from Young Visions 2021, opening April 22 at the Kootenay Gallery. Photo: S. Painter
Showcase of artwork by Kootenay Columbia students opens April 22

Young Visions 2021 runs April 22 to May 29 in the Kootenay Gallery of Art, Castlegar

ballot box
Advance polls open this week in Castlegar byelection

Voting location is Castlegar Community Complex

.
Kootenay Boundary COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Four new cases in Castlegar last week

Selkirk College has received provincial funding to assist students. File photo
Selkirk College receives funding to assist students

Provincial funding is available to West Kootenay students

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

People walk past the Olympic rings in Whistler, B.C., Friday, May 15, 2020. Whistler which is a travel destination for tourists around the world is seeing the effects of travel bans due to COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Adults living, working in Whistler, B.C., eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on Monday

The move comes as the province deals with a rush of COVID-19 and variant cases in the community

Most Read