Kisii Soapstone


Kisii soapstone products are created in the village of Tabaka in south western Kenya. The name ‘Kisii’ refers to the town of Kisii, which is the regional capital, and the language spoken by the local Gussi tribe. As most households in the village are involved in soapstone carving, sale of these products brings valuable employment to this community. In addition to ensuring that these artisans receive a fair wage for their work, fair trade provides valuable support by contributing to projects that improve living conditions, education and health of artisans and the village at large.

Making Kisii Soapstone
Kisii soapstone is mined by hand at nearby quarries and local artisans shape and carve pieces of soapstone into beautiful objects using hand tools. The piece is them smoothed using sandpaper and painted with colourful dyes. Final decorative elements are then added using paint and by carving or etching patterns in the stone. Finally each item is polished with a clear wax to give a shiny finish.

Care of Soapstone
Although soapstone is heavy, it is also very fragile. As it is a form of talc, exposure to standing water will affect the carvings and the dye and paint may also run or discolour. Clean with a damp cloth only and maintain the shine with a clear wax or polish. Chips and damage can be smoothed with fine grade ‘wet and dry’ sandpaper (although this will also remove the coloured finish). 


All products from this producer . . .