Materials

Every Asili Material

Begins with responsible material sourcing, as this forms a key chapter in a product’s story. By operating transparently, ASILI offers the design community an assurance of integrity.

Supports artisans in their trade and through this support, contributes to the preservation of culturally significant crafts. Our aim is to attract a new global market, reviving the neglected traditions and materials of East Africa.

Educates both designer and customer about the potential of a material that they may have never previously used before.

Results in the creation of a modern artifact. We filter traditional techniques and natural materials through a contemporary lens, to create something new and timeless.

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Soap

Stone

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock that consists of the mineral talc, also commonly referred to as steatite, it is known for being soft and easy to work with. Asili soapstone is sourced from family owned quarries in Western Kenya. 

Our Soapstone is sourced in  a small region of Western Kenya. Communities within this region have been using soapstone for generations. 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 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.

From marbled whites, soft pink and orangey hues, to deep bluey grey's the soapstone comes in a range of naturally occurring colours. These natural minerals found within soapstone makes each individual piece completely unique. 

Every piece has been hand carved from start to finish within a fair trade environment.

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Waste

horn

Traditional techniques are used to clean, dry and shape the discarded horn into beautiful shapes and forms. Artisans have been working with this material for hundreds of years.

All asili horn products are handcrafted from ethically sourced, Ankole cattle horn - a bi-product from the Ugandan Beef industry. Not only are our horn products 100% sustainable, but each piece has been individually handcrafted by our small Ugandan based team. 

Through the use of heat, the horn is bent, warped and chiseled with hand tools to create our these beautiful pieces for your home.  Although many artisans have learnt techniques of carving, there a few that can create quality pieces that not only look beautiful, but are functional as well. 

From bowls to cups, to spoons and trays, the talent of the team and the capabilities of the material continue to amaze us! Ankole cattle horns vary from dark to light and are known for their impressive size, the striations of brown and ivory that filter them make every handcrafted piece unique.

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Reclaimed

olive wood

 Sourced from Kenya’s Rift Valley, our wood has been reclaimed from abandoned stumps of Wild Olive Trees that have been cut down to make room for local farmland.

All asili olive wood products have been produced from wild olive wood tree stumps. With a permit from the Kenyan Forest Service, certifying the wood has been sourced sustainably, our team collects the abandoned stumps and takes them to our workshop for seasoning.

The stumps are dried for approximately 3-6 months, before the carving process begins by our Kenyan based team. Each piece is individually handcrafted using no more than hand tools, it is an extremely fascinating process to see,  our artisans carving abilities constantly continue to amaze us! 

The unique grain, the texture and beautiful rich colour of the olive wood stumps make each piece one of a kind.

Every olive wood piece has been ethically and sustainably sourced from start to finish within a fair trade environment. For every stump used, two trees are planted. 

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