Hand-carved from a single piece of Kisii soapstone by African artisans, the legend of the Circle of Friends has a long history. It is said that when you give the statue to a friend, it will solidify your bond with that person for the rest of your lives. The interlocked arms of the figures are meant to be symbolic of the bond shared between close friends.
This also serves as a comfort gift to someone going through a difficult time, or suffering from a loss. It is a reminder that those around you offer support.
- Measures approximately 3-inches tall by 3 to 3.5-inches in diameter.
- Due to the hand-carved nature, each piece may vary slightly in size.
- A natural stone, color variations will range from cream to pink to gold to gray in any single piece.
- Soapstone is a soft stone, making it easy to carve into many forms. Handle with care to avoid breakage.
- Each piece has gone through multiple stages of sanding and waxing, giving the soapstone a satiny finish.
- Socially responsible products that empower consumers to purchase according to their values and help alleviate global poverty.
- Fair Trade is an alternative business model that values safe workplaces, fair wages and community investment for factory employees.
Story Behind the Art:
Each sculpture is artfully hand-carved from a single piece of Kisii soapstone, found only in the hills of southwestern Kenya. Mining the soapstone from surface hills is a labor-intensive process, using little to no machinery. Laborers works with shovels, picks, axes and machetes to carve out large soapstone chucks, which are then carved into beautiful art.
About the artist: SMOLART
Our Soapstone is carved by the artists of SMOLArt a group of artists who live in the rural village of Tabaka, Kenya, the heart of soapstone crafts. The name, a shortened version of Small, Medium, and Large Artists, refers to the size of the soapstone products the artisans make, not their stature. Established in 1990, SMOLArt is a member of the WFTO, and as such assures that the artisans are paid a fair price for their work. In addition, the organization support community development by contributing to projects that improve living conditions, education, and health of their members and the village at large.
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.