Ardmore: We Are Because of Others Tells the Story of this Famous Pottery Studio
New from Fernwood Press, an imprint of Struik Lifestyle, Ardmore: We Are Because of Others by Fée Halsted:
Giraffe stretch out their necks and bat-eared foxes curl their tails to make handles for jugs, vases and tureens. Inquisitive monkeys peer over the edge of a planter, teasing the leopards below them. Magical creatures wear cloaks of flowers, spots and stripes; a turbanned Zulu figure sits astride a hippo…
Colourful, imaginative, vibrant, delicate and dramatic – these are just some of the hallmarks of the artworks that have garnered international accolades for Ardmore Ceramic Art in rural KwaZulu-Natal. It is here, in South Africa’s most successful ceramics studio set in the verdant Midlands, that exquisitely handcrafted and highly detailed figurative works and functional ware are created by more than fifty artists who draw on Zulu traditions and folklore, history, the natural world, and their own lives for inspiration.
In turn, it is the lives of the sculptors and painters of Ardmore that fire the vision of the woman behind it all: Fée Halsted is an artist whose love of teaching and determination to fight poverty and AIDS have set others on the path of creative self-discovery and ultimately worldwide acclaim.
Ardmore – We Are Because of Others tells the extraordinary story of this famous studio – from its humble beginnings in a poverty-stricken corner of South Africa to its fame as a producer of exceptional and irresistible objets d’art prized by collectors, galleries and museums throughout the world. It is also the story of the indomitable Fée Halsted who is the driving force behind the enterprise, and the artists whose inventive spirit and fearless creativity are at the heart of Ardmore.
About the author
Ardmore Ceramic Art was established by Fée Halsted on Ardmore Farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, where she lived after obtaining her BA (Fine Arts) Honours degree and lecturing at Natal Technikon. Here she met Bonnie Ntshalintshali, daughter of their housekeeper, whose polio meant that she was unable to work in the fields. Fée and Bonnie quickly developed a synergy and under Fée’s mentorship, Bonnie’s natural skills as an artist blossomed. Five years later, in 1990, Fée and Bonnie were jointly awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, the first such artistic partnership to be recognised. With this success came the demands of creating ceramics for their exhibition, so Fée offered other local women the opportunity to train at Ardmore, producing pieces to generate income for the fledgling studio.