Learn How A Humble Ceramics Business Evolved Into One Of The Most Recognised Ceramics Brands In The World Today

Fee Halsted and Bonnie Ntshalintshali (Source: www.thejournalist.org.za)

Fee Halsted and Bonnie Ntshalintshali (Source: www.thejournalist.org.za)

Ardmore was started, 30 years’ ago, by an unlikely duo, Fee Halsted and Bonnie Ntshalintshali in the foothills of the Drakensburg Mountains, KwaZulu-Natal. It began as a modest ceramics studio that has slowly evolved into an internationally recognised brand that is known for its unique and distinctive ceramic collections.

Fee Halsted was well-trained in the art of ceramic making as she had studied at the University of Natal whilst Bonnie Ntshalintshali was the daughter of a domestic work and had no formal art training. However Bonnie had a natural artistic ability and through this partnership a flourishing business began namely Ardmore.

Ardmore now operates out of Caversham Valley in the Midlands whereby numerous artists practice and hone their skills to produce stunning and unique works of art. Sadly Bonnie passed away in 1999 but Halsted is still actively involved in the training and mentoring of the artists who contribute to the Ardmore brand. Ardmore’s artists have won numerous awards and have exhibited both nationally and internationally.  Ardmore’s collections feature in the Museum of Art & Design in New York, the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, and the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermartizburg, South Africa.

The strength of the Ardmore brand stems from the seamless integration of fine art with traditional Zulu depictions and stories. Each piece has a detailed story filled with “wit, sex, humour, fauna and flora, energy and rhythm”.

We decided to do this article because Ardmore truly represents what it means to be a South African brand, renowned on a global scale, that not only empowers local South Africans but also celebrates South African culture. We visited the Ardmore gallery and studio in the Midlands and thought we would share our experience. 

I have included some more recent collections that are available to purchase online. All pictures sourced from www.ardmoreceramics.co.za