Tabaka Soapstone

Soapstone mining and carving has been going on in Tabaka, Kenya since 1885. Soapstone carving is closely associated with the Kisii people because this is the only place in Kenya where soapstone can be found. The heat resistant stone is carved locally for tourists who buy the products in the main markets of Kenya, and exported to several countries both inside and outside of Africa.

The bedrock covers 25 square kilometers and runs 800 feet deep. Soapstone is a soft stone consisting mostly of talc, a metamorphic rock. Crude tools are used to break the stone out of the quarry which is where the production process begins.

Residents of Tabaka have informally organized themselves around the production of these handcraft products and you can see how it all works by clicking here.