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Artisan Stories - Wood and Bone Craftsmen, Kenya

Wood and Bone Craftsmen, Kenya

Our wood and bone pieces are made by Benson, who works in a small workshop in Mombasa, Kenya. He originally started working as an apprentice to help support his parents and siblings at home. He is now a specialist in bone carving and passing his skills on to a new group of apprentices.

Mombasa is Kenya's second largest city after the capital, Nairobi. It's located on the Indian Ocean coastline which makes it an important port and trading hub. 

Olive Wood and Bone

Olive wood is very hard and prized for its durability and interesting grain patterns. Selling olive wood gives farmers an additional income from trees that are no longer productive. The bone used to make our products is a bi-product from farming Ankole-Watusi cattle, an ancient breed native to Africa.

How is it made?

These beautiful olive wood utensils carved entirely by hand using traditional tools. The bone decorations are cleansed, washed and dried in the sun before being carved into shape and polished smooth.

How your purchase improves lives

This small workshop operates an apprentice scheme so that a new generation of wood carvers can be trained in traditional skills and earn a sustainable living. As they perfect their craft, the artisans are encouraged to pass on their knowledge to new apprentices, allowing them to develop their leadership skills.

"It's a job that I love. I have been able to acquire new skills and designs as I work" Benson

View other products by these artisans

Image credits: Dassie, Niki Buskell