Andreas and Naomi Kunert erect stone circles that are spellbinding and timeless, like ancient megaliths. They create swirling stone murals reminiscent of galaxies, which seem to draw us into the movements of the cosmos. They carve smooth and mystical scenes into marble and basalt.
As I sat down with the Kunerts, I couldn’t wait to hear about their artistic journey — how they came to create such lofty works from this heavy medium. What I got was refreshingly unexpected — a love story.
The Kunerts are partners in craft and in life. Yet the love in this story reaches beyond romance, into a spiritual realm.
They told me a story that exemplifies how this deep love manifests in their work. An older, refined gentleman approached them with tears in his eyes after walking through their gallery studio in Oregon during a recent tour. “I feel like I’ve just walked into a church — it just feels so sacred in here,” he said.
Their work can have this effect, Naomi says, because the spirit of the artist permeates the artwork and emanates from it. “Where we come from in our own spirit and heart connection and our intention for the Earth and humanity [makes] people feel that,” she says.
Their intention is to bring healing and wellness to people through their art.
The Kunerts themselves have found healing through their art. Naomi is a cancer survivor who poured her heart into her art when all else seemed lost. Andreas lived through severe accidents that affected his nervous system, causing pain and memory loss. But he used his other, heightened faculties in his art; he has a preternatural attunement to his medium and its forms.
Their whole story, from the way they met and bonded, to the inspirations for their designs, has an otherworldly quality.
A timeless essence made personal
They named their business Ancient Art of Stone, as they draw on ancient motifs and wisdom. While this gives their work a universal characteristic, they also make each piece an individual “soul portrait,” Andreas says.
“We’ve had people that have our work in their house 10 years and would say, ‘I get up in the morning and then come upon this fireplace, this wall, and it’s still different every day. How could I have not seen that after all this time?’” he says. “It’s always evolving to them — it continues to affect them. It’s deeply personal for them.”
“It’s very important that we never create anything just to be pretty,” Andreas says. “It always has an important meaning behind it. Every piece we do really is a soul portrait; whether it’s for an individual or a community, we’re very mindful of where it’s going.”
Various cultures have traditionally attributed healing and mood-affecting properties to certain crystals and precious stones, and the Kunerts draw from these traditions when forming their designs. “Naomi has an incredible intuition into the person when she meets them and knows what they need, which crystals they need, what the shape should be，the height and why, and can articulate it,” says Andreas.
They have witnessed the impact of their work on others. At trade shows, for example, it is common for people to have a strong reaction to seeing their art, Naomi says. “Being right in front of it, [people] will just start to weep.Sometimes grown men say, ‘I don’t even know why I’m crying. I don’t usually cry.’”
They also use ancient principles of balance and harmony in their designs to promote a person’s inner well-being.
Their art is fashioned like the cosmos itself, guided by “sacred geometry.” The Fibonacci sequence, for example, is part of their designs. This sequence describes the mathematical proportions found throughout nature, such as the proportions of spiral galaxies, hurricanes, or the arrangements of seeds in a sunflower.
Like these primordial designs, the convergence of Andreas and Naomi’s pathways seemed predestined.
A mystical meeting
They both grew up immersed in nature. Naomi was raised on the Saskatchewan prairies. Andreas spent much of his youth in the forests of Vermont, often going alone on backcountry adventures.
Naomi had just graduated with honours, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture and painting, when she fell sick with thyroid cancer. To heal herself, she turned to Native traditions. She learned about ancient ceremonies and how the spirit penetrates all of creation. “They say stone was the first spirit to inhabit the Earth and has the most ancient voice,” says Naomi. She found working on stone sculpture soothing and healing.
“It was so magical,” she says. “I started having real experiences of connection with the spirit through the stone.”
“I was told [in the dreams] about his life and where he comes from, who he is as a soul, and his mastery and lineage — that he comes from… a Germanic Russian area,” Naomi says. “I was told about different things that had happened in his life and was shown where he was working — on the Sunshine Coast [in British Columbia].”
Then came another link — a friend of hers from the Sunshine Coast appeared in her dreams. Though she hadn’t seen this friend in four years, she rang him up.
“John, I had this dream about you,” Naomi told him. “I think I’m supposed to come see you,” she said, and she flew out the next weekend. John, unbeknownst to her, happened to be hosting a birthday party for a dear friend of his.
The friend was literally the man of her dreams — Andreas Kunert. “I recognized him immediately,” Naomi says.
That was about 20 years ago. It wasn’t only her precognitive dreams about him that created an instant bond. “I felt this connection and this synergy just to be with him,” she says. “It just felt like the most comfortable, normal thing, like I’ve known him my whole life.
“I always say Naomi saved my life,” says Andreas. When he met her, his ability to remember had been severely damaged by multiple accidents in his youth. For example, when he was 16, he cracked his head on the tail of a plane as he was skydiving. “And then his chute didn’t open,” Naomi chimes in.
“It’s very hard to have no memory and be sensitive and be so different,” Andreas says. He feels Naomi’s supportive presence in his life and the traditional wisdom that had helped her heal also helped him. His memory improved greatly. “He has a genius-savant kind of IQ,” she says. “In that creative mind, a lot of autistic children also have this problem. Their nervous system is overwhelmed, so they might have one particular area that they’re really good at, whether it’s math or creativity, but they are easily overwhelmed in scenarios.”Naomi looks at Andreas and tells him, “It’s important to talk about how you see.”
Kunert smiles at her, then explains to me, “I was born with the ability to see sacred geometry. The Fibonacci sequence or sacred geometry, I see that. When I photograph people’s faces, I can see it in your face. I can see it in a landscape, and I can especially see it if we’re going to [arrange stones].”
He explains that sacred geometry is in all things, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flowers, and ferns as they unfold. “It’s everywhere. It’s in our DNA. It’s literally everywhere,” Kunert says. He didn’t know What it was called until metting Naomi, but he always knew about it intuitively. “I just did it naturally. As I’m setting stone, I’ll close my eyes and feel it in my fingers, the shape, and I’ll know what’s next.”
The golden ratio, which is related to the Fibonacci sequence, and which Andreas uses in his designs, has been used by great artistic masters of the past. “The great masters who built the cathedrals and who painted, like Michelangelo and Raphael and the great architects, knew this golden ratio — the means to create these pieces that affected people at a deep, core foundational level,” he says.