Wood carvings and soapstone sculptures are the two main pillars of African handicraft. They represent a unique art and reflect the culture of the native country. While the products can take many forms, the main ones are animal and human statures.
Hundreds of years of practice, transmitted down from generation to generation has produced talented artisans whose products easily qualify as home decors and stunning gifts to loved ones. You can equally use them to bring back sweet memories of a trip to Africa. In this article, I will discuss wood carvings and soapstone sculptures in more detail…
Hard Wood Carvings: Within East Africa, this type of handicraft are the most common forms of sculptures available. They generally represent human or animal forms. The main reason why the majority of carvings come from this material is because wood is so easily available. The artists that carry out this craft can, therefore, do so on a regular basis, and thanks to this, the items that they produce are now readily available to people all over the world. On top of this, wood is also very easy to work with, meaning the artists that carve using it only need to be equipped with basic rather than advanced tools.
There are two types of wood that can be used for carving, soft and hard. Hard wood is more brittle and therefore cracks more easily than soft wood but it is much stronger. The resultant carvings are not only of high quality,but are durable because they stand damage by insects and weather much longer. Thanks to the quality of the wood that these handicrafts are made from, you are safe in the knowledge that whatever item you purchase will be made and finished to the highest of standards.
Soapstone Sculptures: Kenyan soapstone sculptures are mostly crafted in Kisii area.This is because soapstone in Kenya,is only found in Kisii area. This substance gains its name from the soapy feel that is associated with talc; it is a soft substance that is easily carvable, making it possible to craft beautiful items. The items sculpted from this material can take any form, shape or size but commonly represent animals, tribal themes and humans.
All African handicraft products, regardless of the materials they are crafted from, are made by very talented, hardworking ordinary citizens and the skills that they possess are handed down from generation to generation. The finished products are stunning in their design and craftsmanship, but don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself and I’m sure you’ll agree.