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SMOLArt African Soapstone

SMOLArt is a group of artisans based in the rural village of Tabaka, Kenya.  This is the center of Kenya's soapstone carving region.  The organization was established in 1990 and are members of the World Fair Trade Organization. The artisans receive a fair wage for their work and the project provides community development support through projects that improve living conditions, education, and health of their members.  

Soapstone is mined from great pits in the area surrounding Kiisi, Kenya. The mined soapstone is then delivered to carvers who carve sculptures from the natural stone for the wholesale market, the color of which ranges from cream, to pink, to brown, to yellow, to black, to a marbling of all of them. Once carved, the craftspeople smooth rough edges of the soapstone with sandpaper dipped in water and polish the piece to a high gloss or paint African motifs in brilliant colors with etched accents.

All of the soapstone products we sell are completely handmade. The tools consist of household items from screwdrivers, hand drills, to switchblades. "Pangas," sword-like tools usually used for cutting down vegetation, are used to cleave the stone in the mines.