> Ancient Arts Colorway Stories

Ancient Arts Hand Painted Colorway Stories
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Caroline Sommerfeld is the artist of   Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts. She lives in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
This is how Caroline is inspired to create her beautiful color ways.

Abalone - hand painted
I have always been attracted to the sea, and to the creatures that live in that mysterious place (at least mysterious to a mountain and prairie raised gal). Some of my favorite books as a child featured the sea, and one that has always stuck with me involved a family of sea otters who ate abalone. Up until a few years ago I had never sea otters in the wild, nor the mysterious abalone. Finally my chance came and it was as exciting as I could ever have hoped. The otters left some shells behind for us to admire when they swam off; fulfilling a lifelong dream to see a wild sea otter. 
This colour way came about thanks to playing with dye and color. I loved the results, and when a friend saw it she told me it looks just like an abalone. She is absolutely right, and the shades in this color way always make me think of those shells, the sea itself, and what it was like to see sea otters cavorting in the wild.

Arctic Midnight - hand painted
Arctic Midnight commemorates a very special stay in a wilderness cabin in northern Alberta many years ago. It was winter, and the temperature had gone down to -60°C (-76°F) for several days, trapping us at the cabin because our vehicles wouldn’t start in the intense cold. I went for a walk one night and it has always stuck in my memory because of the amazing colors that were everywhere that night.
 The snow glowed with every shade of blue that one can imagine, the shadows were intensely black, and the northern lights were the most amazing color of all. I am used to seeing them in various shades of green, but this night they were violet! I have never seen anything like it again. It was a night of magic and wonder.

Basalt - hand painted
Twelve years ago my husband and I decided to build our dream home. For me the most important part of the dream was being able to create a landscaped yard with no lawn, starting from scratch. Since my new yard has a significant slope from back to front it was a real design challenge, and so in the end I decided to terrace it using large rocks to make many levels, with different flower beds on each one. To do this we went and bought large landscaping rocks made of beautiful local basalt and granite and had them delivered. Once they arrived, I moved over 180 tons of rocks to the backyard by hand and made many lovely raised flower beds. However, one rock I chose was far too ambitious a selection and it turned out that I was unable to move it at all because it weighed over 800 pounds! As a result to this day it sits in my front yard, and has become a favorite conversation piece in its very own xeriscaped flower bed. 
Basalt (the color way) celebrates the beauty of this rock and the mountains it comes from.

Blue Iris - hand painted
The women in my family, generation after generation, have enjoyed gardening and the growing of flowers, even when homesteading in harsh prairie environments. Like with many families, some of those flowers become special, and we share cuttings of the plants among us. The oldest plant in our family has been with us for well over 70 years and is a bearded iris that was originally owned by my grandmother who homesteaded in Saskatchewan and grew it there.
 She gave some of the plant to my mother when she moved to Calgary, and she in turn gave me some cuttings when I built my dream flower beds.
 The iris is simple, with blue and white petals, and lovely soft green leaves. It isn’t as showy as many modern bearded irises are, but it has great sentimental value, and is the inspiration for this color way.

Chinook Arch- hand painted
Calgary is one of the few places on earth that gets true Chinooks, warm winds that blow in over the mountains from the coast 1000km away, bringing heat and wind and just a touch of the coast. Chinooks can raise the temperature in the winter in Calgary as much as 30 degrees C in less than an hour, and create the most amazing cloud formations in the sky, including the classic “Chinook arch�, a half-dome of clouds that hover over the city with a distinctive arch shape. Sometimes these cloud formations will be associated with storms that blow in over the mountains, and can take on the most amazing grey/green/blue storm colours. Combined with angry storm clouds this can be quite a sight. I love Chinooks because they mean the weather is always changing and that means bad weather is always on its way out! 

More stories coming soon!