Fairtrade hearts are handmade from Kisii stone, also known as soap stone by artisans in the south west of Kenya. Perfect as paperweights or ornaments, they look beautiful when arranged as a collection in a bowl or basket.
The name ‘Kisii’ is from the regional capital and is also a language spoken by the local Gussi tribe. The stone is found and mined by hand in the Tabaka hills.
Stones are carved using hand tools such as machetes, saws and knives. They are then sanded and dyed before being handed to designers who carve patterns into the stone. Polishing is the last step, done using floor or shoe polish and shredded sisal rope.
Traditionally only the men did the carving, but traditions are evolving and these skills are now being taught more widely.
The carvers truly take pride in each of the sculptures they produce and it is reflected in all of the pieces we receive. Sales of these carvings promote Fairtrade and social justice through increasing local employment and promoting equal working opportunities. As a Fairtrade project, artisans are assured of a fair wage and working conditions.