Stone Carving

STONE CARVING ©Ariane KirtleySTONE CARVING: In this photo, Fassely admires the stone he has chisled while Ahoudan explains the next steps for shaping it. Ahoudan spent much of the afternoon teaching Fassely the art of carving soap stone as we sat under the stone carver tent at Chateau 1 in Niamey, where artisans of all ethnic groups and nationalities sell their crafts. After chisling the stone into the desired shape, Fassely sanded the stone down, then placed his artwork in the fire to give it a brown color. 

We enjoy sitting with the stone carvers, many of whom come from the villages north of Agadez where I grew up. In fact, a few of them were my childhood friends. While Fassely works, I chat with the men about our friends and family in the villages, learning who has married who, who has had another child, who has passed away…

As many of you already know, Ahoudan helped raise me. While he did not teach me stone carving, which is reserved for men, his wives and children taught me the art of weaving reeds and clay sculptures. I feel very privileged to still have Ahoudan as my dear friend, and to have someone so special impart his wisdom on my children.