FEE Halsted, the founder of Ardmore Ceramic Art in Caversham in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands, will be giving a talk to the Midlands Forum at the Howick High School hall at 9.30 am for 10 am on Tuesday, May 3.
The arts collective was founded by Halsted in 1985 on the farm ‘Ardmore’ in the Drakensberg where she began mentoring her housekeeper’s daughter, Bonnie Ntshalintshali, whose polio meant that she was unable to work on the nearby farms.
In 1990, Halsted and Ntshalintshali won the Standard Bank Young Artists Award. With this success came the demands of creating ceramics for their exhibition, so Halsted offered other local women the opportunity to train at Ardmore, producing pieces to generate income for the fledgling studio.
In 1996, Halsted and her family moved to Springvale Farm in Rosetta, allowing the artists at the Berg studio in the Champagne Valley to explore their independence.
At Springvale she established a smaller studio and gallery, and in 2003, the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum to honour her co-artist and friend after her tragic death from HIV/Aids in 1999.
A few years later, Halsted and her family moved to the Caversham Valley, relocating the studio and museum and building a spacious gallery and offices. This created a unique home for Ardmore and in 2009 she amalgamated the Berg and Rosetta studios there.
Ardmore Ceramic Art employs over 70 artists, who have little formal training but are given the opportunity to grow their natural talent. Some of these artists sculpt pieces and then painters embellish the ceramic form. They are supported by a skilled marketing and administrative team, many of whom have grown with the business.
Over the years, Ardmore’s artists have won numerous awards and exhibited widely in South Africa and around the world. Ardmore artworks feature in leading galleries and collections, including the Museum of Art & Design in New York, the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, and the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Since 2010 Ardmore’s distinctive imagery and styling has been turned into functional, superb quality ceramic and non-ceramic products including dinnerware, tapestries, furniture, fabrics for soft furnishings, and scarves thanks to a recent collaboration with French fashion design house, Hermès.
Tickets can be bought at the door. Safe parking is available.