Kisii Stone Carvers


Kisii stone, also called ‘Soap Stone’, is mined using shovels, crowbars, wedges and hammers, in and around the village of Tabaka in south western Kenya.

The term kisii is taken from the regional capital of Kisii, which is also the local language spoken by the Gussi tribe.

Production Techniques

Each piece of stone is carved using hand tools such as machetes, saws, adzes and knives.

The colour of the stone can vary from white, pink, brown, yellow and black, so after carving the stone, the pieces are sanded and then dyed before the designers take over and paint or carve patterns into the stone.

The last process is polishing which is done with floor or shoe polish and shredded sisal rope.

The sales of these carvings brings valuable employment to the area where most households are involved in some form of the production.