This hand-carved soapstone nativity set is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas! Features a 12-piece set of figurines hand-carved from Kenyan soapstone and a banana-fiber barn that doubles as storage when not on display. Figurines include Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, Wisemen, Shepherd, Angel and assorted animals.
The 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 work with shovels, picks, axes and machetes to carve out large soapstone chunks, which are then carved into beautiful art.
Storage barn is handmade by recycling the dried fiber of banana plants, which would normally be discarded. Craftspeople use their talents to transform the banana fiber into new, eco-friendly art forms. First, the banana fiber is dried, and then a light varnish is applied. The varnish on the banana fiber, with its many shades of brown, resembles textured tortoise shell. Once the process is complete, the artisans cut the fiber into strips to make one-of-a-kind goods.