The Healer's Touch

Two artists demonstrating how they create The Healer's Touch sculptures for DAISY Honorees. . .If you have trouble understanding their voice-over, please click here to read a transcript.

The DAISY Foundation is importing thousands of Healer's Touch sculptures from Zimbabwe each year. As each one is hand-carved by a Shona artist, we thought it would be wonderful to see how these beautiful pieces are carved, knowing that the artists are working in very primitive conditions.

Press the play button to watch a piece of art be born out of rock.

These serpentine stone sculptures are hand-carved for us by artists of the Shona Tribe in Zimbabwe. The sculptures are especially meaningful because of the profound respect the Shona people pay their traditional healers. Shona healers are affectionately regarded as treasures by those they care for, and the well-being and safety of the healer is of community-wide importance. This describes exactly how we and our Partners feel about nurses!


Your sculpture is made of Serpentine Stone. It has a thin coating of wax to bring out the color of the stone, and it is fairly delicate. Should it suffer a scratch or nick, it is not difficult to repair. Here’s how:

  • Heat it in your oven at 250 degrees for about 10 minutes. (The artists fire it in open flame, so this won’t hurt it. Just be sure to use an oven mitt to remove it from the oven.) If the scratch is deep or the sculpture is nicked, you may first smooth it out with fine sand paper and steel wool.
  • Apply and rub in clear shoe polish to restore your sculpture’s color and shine.

If you have any questions about this, please email us at John will be happy to help you.

For a step by step look at the process to create a Large Healer's touch, please see below.


In addition to the Healer’s Touch sculptures that our Nurse Honorees receive, there are also Large Healer’s Touch sculptures available for purchase.  As with the smaller sculptures, each one of these statues is hand carved and one of a kind.  The Shona artist starts out with a huge rock weighing approximately 350 pounds.  When completed, each sculpture stands at approximately 3 feet tall, weighs upwards of 150 pounds and has its own unique color, shape and character. 

If you are interested in purchasing one of these beautiful works of art for your healing garden or lobby, please contact your Regional Program Director.  To view photos of large healers at some of our partner facilities click here.

The process to create just one of these large sculptures can take up to three weeks.

These magnificent carvings have been purchased by DAISY  Partners and Sponsors as gifts to the various facilities that honor their nurses with the DAISY Award.  The sculptures are installed in hospital healing gardens and lobbies.  They are a constant reminder to all nurses just how special they are and how important and vital their work is.

DAISY's purchase of these sculptures has become very important to the people who carve these beautiful pieces. Given the desperate political situation in Zimbabwe, there are no tourists to buy their work. So the money we send to Zimbabwe to pay for the Healers is a tremendous help to the artists and their families. Their letters of gratitude for this support are heartfelt and heartbreaking. "We know now that we will eat and keep our children in school and be able to gain a little strength," reads one of them, sent when they received a payment from us.

What this said to us is that the incredible work being done by nurses here in the U.S. is reaching around the world to help save the lives of these gifted artists. The artists, in turn, are creating these very sensitive depictions of the unique relationship nurses have with their patients.

Step by Step

  • Stage 1:

    After getting the big block of stone (which weighs up to 350 pounds) it is pruned to size.  Large chisels and mallets are then used to get it to the desired shape.  This process normally takes about a week, working very hard.

  • Stage 2:

    This stage is where all the deep punch marks are removed, using a flat chisel and a rubber mallet. This stage also reduces the sculpture to the actual shape, proportion and size.  It normally takes three to four days depending on the hardness of the stone and sharpness of the tools.

  • Stage 3:

    This is the general fine tuning stage of the piece.  At this stage coarse and fine raspers are used. The coarse rasper removes roughness & other marks left on the piece from the chisel. The fine rasper reduces the coarseness of the piece.  Depending on the hardness of the stone this stage normally takes 4 to 5 hours.

  • Stage 4:

    Water & waterpapers are now used to smooth the sculpture for the polishing stage.  The waterpapers range from the roughest grit (60 Grit) to the finest grit (2000 Grit).  This stage takes approximately two days to finish.

  • Stage 5:

    Applying polish and shining are the final stage. The stone is heated, polish is applied and the carving is left to cool. Then polish is re-applied and the sculpture is buffed to a shine with a clean soft cloth.