Hand Carved Kenyan Soapstone | Meet The Artisans

January 26, 2021

Hand Carved Kenyan Soapstone | Meet The Artisans

All of our contemporary soapstone products are hand carved in Kisii, a small town in the South West of Kenya.  Our products are carved by a youth self help group,  started in 1996 and has 40 members. The young men and women craft our soapstone products, with mostly the male members being responsible for collecting the stone from the quarry and carving the stone using large knives.  The female members take on the role of washing and sanding the products as well as being part of the design process. 

The group are carving various soapstone products

 

The aim of the group is to "chase away poverty from our group and entire community by ensuring there is food, shelter, clothes, clean water to drink, medical facilities and better education to our children." They also work towards stopping child marriage by giving young women and girls opportunities to work and earn a wage so that they can support themselves. 

 

 

The process of creating our beautiful soapstone homewares starts with the group using sharp tools such as chisels, axes and hammers to dig out the soapstone from the quarry. They then use ropes to tie the large lump of soft stone to a wooden stepladder like contraption to carry it carefully to the shaded workshop where they can begin to carve  the finished products. The soapstone is cut down into smaller pieces using a handsaw before being lovingly hand-carved.  After the carving has finished the items are washed and sanded smooth. The finished pieces are then polished with a natural wax to create a long-lasting shine.

 

young women washing soapstone

 

All of the soapstone is sustainably sourced from a quarry in South Western Kenya. You can see the full range of our soapstone products here




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