Amadou learned his craft on his father’s knee in northern Mali at the age of eight. Since then, he had made a living by hand-carving traditional wooden pieces from African Blackwood. When international logging companies began their mass harvesting, everything changed.
The skills he inherited from generations of craftsmen, his reverence for this rare and slow-growing wood and the responsibility that he feels in the four days it takes him to complete one piece – all of this was suddenly irrelevant. When money talks, indigenous artisans end up paying the price. Locals are left with the scraps left behind – pieces deemed “unsuitable” for international high-end mass production furniture.
In those scraps – the pieces with stunning white markings on the black wood – Amadou has found his wood to carve. After serious consideration, we concluded that carrying Amadou’s extraordinary pieces is indeed an ethical sourcing decision. His craft is his legacy. It was his living before the logging companies came. And it should continue.