As Valentine’s Day approaches and we begin thinking of ways to remind our loved ones that they hold a special place in our hearts, it’s wonderful to realize that what we give can come full circle and truly encompass the essence of love. A great example of such a gift? Our soapstone hearts from Africa; hand carved with care, painted with passion, and created in the name of fairness, equality and hope for the future.
Sounds like love to us!
Our Kissi soapstone is predominately from Kenya and Zimbabwe. Soapstone is a softer stone, consisting mainly of talc, that makes it easier to carve - much like soap! To make the soapstone nice and smooth, artisans use a wet-sanding technique. Naturally, soapstone is a beautiful cream color, but is often painted using bright natural dyes.
Below is a video that shows the hard work, time, and talent that goes into creating each soapstone heart and animal we get from Venture Imports.
Venture Imports fair trade certified standards:
Producers receive a fair wage in the local context.
Producers work in healthy and safe working conditions in the local context.
Strive to establish long-term relationships with our partners.
Respect the cultural identity of our partners.
Work to protect the environment.
“Most of the artists use the money for basic necessities like food for their families and school fees for their children. While the money is usually a survival tool, some of them, like Samuel, are able to use some of the money to provide for HIV orphans. Every dollar makes an impact: in a country like Zimbabwe, where unemployment is so high, it typically takes only one person with a job to provide for an entire extended family.” - Venture Imports About Us
You can even say “I love you” in the language of your heart!
These soapstone hearts have an awful lot in common with our own hearts, don’t they?
A handmade heart is a heart that has been worked on patiently, until it has turned into the beautiful message it was meant to be….
What a gift worth giving.
Happy Valentine’s, everyone!