Our Soapstone is sourced in the Kisii Country, a small region of Western Kenya. Communities within Kisii have been using soapstone for generations. Soapstone was traditionally used for domestic purposes, such as sculpting pots to carry fats and oils, but rock art carvings were the earliest example of soapstone being used as an artistic material.
For many families their soapstone carvings are the primary source of income, they sell their work in the markets and shops across Kenya. Most of the quarries are family owned, the local people who own the land also live on it. Their houses are located next to mining pits and the owners are paid by the kilo for the soapstone that is removed. Specific carving skills and techniques have been passed down within families, some reaching up to three generations of carvers.
Arriving in Kisii was a mind blowing experience. We instantly felt inspired by the traditional craft, practice and community that surrounded us. From spending just a few hours with the team, the holistic connection between the artisan, their craft, the material, the land and their community became apparent.
We spent three days on the soapstone quarry with our team working on designs, observing the carving process from start to finish was extremely fascinating. Each product is individually handcrafted from large chunks of soapstone taken from the quarries. No machinery is used, the carvers work with no more than a machete, some hand chisels and knives.
The soft smooth texture along with the blush and natural hues that diffuse throughout the stone, provided us with plenty of inspiration!
Aesthetically, we fell in love with the material as soon as we saw it. However once we understood how the products were made, the history and skill involved in the process and the impact we were making by supporting this trade, we realised this was something that we couldn't leave behind!
We are so excited to share our soapstone products with you, and hope you love them as much as we do!