Kisii Hearts, also known as Soap Stone, are mined outside the town of Kisii in South West Kenya. The stone is found and mined by hand in the Tabaka hills – the only place where it is found in the region. The stone is known for being soft and easy to work with. It is primarily used for domestic purposes such as pottery, but artisans now use it to create handmade carvings.
From stones to hearts
Artisans use hand tools such as saws and knives to meticulously carve and sand the stone into beautiful smooth shapes. The colour of the stone can vary, so the pieces are dyed before the designers carve pattern and paint the stones. Once the stones are given their colourful and intricate patterns, they are polishes using floor or shoe polish and shredded sisal rope.
Hearts for a cause
The artisans take pride in each of the sculptures they produce and they are assured fair wage and working conditions. For many people in the Tabaka Hills, soapstone carvings are their primary source of income. Purchasing a Kisii Heart supports local employment and the promotion of equal working opportunities. Furthermore, each heart supports women in need of maternal healthcare in Ethiopia.
You can buy a Kisii Heart in various colours here. They’re perfect as paperweights or decorations for your home or office, and make a beautiful gift for your loved one this Valentine’s day