Shona Sculptures from Zimbabwe
We just delivery of our first piece of Shona Sculpture from our friends at Venture Imports.
Serpentine is the stone most commonly used by the Shona Carvers; Shona ranges in hardness from 2.0 to 5.5 on “Mohs Scale of Hardness.” It has a huge range of color variations, but most pieces will have some brown, green or black in them.
Our first piece is this beautiful “Kissing Couple” in natural stone.
Jennie from Venture Imports describes the carving process this way:
“The artists chip, chisel, sand and then wet-sand each piece. (Before sandpaper, artists would use river sand and a rag in their hands to smooth out the pieces.) Then they place the piece around, or in some cases actually in, a fire. They finish by putting floor polish on the heated piece which sinks into the piece and brings out the natural colors of the stone and makes it shiny. They keep reapplying the floor wax (they use Cobra wax, I use Johnson paste wax) until the surface cools. Then they buff it with a cloth which makes it nice and shiny.”
Jennie also explains how the carvers learn their craft:
“Most of the artists have no formal training, but they often learn as apprentices under a master sculptor. They begin by washing and polishing the master’s pieces and then start working on small pieces of their own. Some of the artists work in cooperatives which is a fun site to see. They are so quick and sing and talk while they chip away.”
More pieces will arrive soon, and will be added to our online store.