Kenyan Soapstone Rhino, Pink
This cute (and chubby) pink soapstone rhino makes a lovely paperweight or small ornament for the home.
Handmade in by skilled Fair Trade artisans in Kisii, Kenya. Most people in Kisii live a subsistence lifestyle, so the income from soapstone handicrafts is vital to their existence.
Dimensions - length 9 cm x height 5.5 cm x width 4.5 cm approximately.
Please note: keep out of direct sunlight. Use beeswax to polish. Do not use water on these painted products.
Did you know?
• Kisii is the region where most of the world's supply of soapstone originates. Naturally occuring soapstone is a relatively soft stone, a calcium carbonate. Over many generations the people of Kisii have learned to carve beautiful artefacts from the stone.
• First the soapstone is mined by hand in the local, open mines. No machinery is used to mine and as a result, it can be a dangerous job, particularly in the rainy season. The stone is removed using hand held picks and the rocks are cut into smaller sizes using a saw.
• Then, using a hammer and a chisel, the soapstone is carved. A knife is sometimes used in addition or at different stages of the carving to get the rough outline required. The stone is then placed in water.
Sandpaper is used to smooth the chiselled stone. This is a long process and different sandpaper is used until the stone is completely smooth and there are no chisel marks left. The women often do the sanding.
• The stone is painted, often using a sponge to mix colours, covering the white soapstone underneath.
• The piece is then finished-off with a beeswax polish.
Our Kisii Soapstone range is produced by Art Safi Self Help Group, based in Kisii and Nairobi, Kenya, who are paid between 25% and 50% above the local market wholesale price in Kenya.
Additionally, the workers are paid 50% of order value upfront and the balance is paid on time.
This helps members of the self help group which include carvers, artists and those who sand, wax and pack the items support their families better.