Ardmore ceramics range from functional domestic ware to sculptural art, all in the decorative African tradition. The skill of the sculptors and painters is an expression of feeling and emotion, which is associated with a pastoral life. Their distinctive work brings together the aspects of fine art with myth and legend, tradition and custom. The over 40 artists, many without any formal training, have been able to capture the colour and texture of Africa in a visual form.
The studio was established by Fée Halsted-Berning, and her young apprentice Bonnie Ntshalintshali in 1985, on Fée and her husband’s farm, Ardmore. Ardmore is located in the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal, where the studio was set up in simple converted stables.
In 1990 Fée and Bonnie won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, this prestigious award given in recognition of emerging talent. The exhibition which followed at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, and the tremendous positive exposure it brought, put Ardmore firmly on the map.
Today the studio is run by Moses. He has learnt every aspect of its operation, including packing and firing of kilns, ordering of clay, paints, glazes, brushes and tools, handling orders, organising artists, training apprentices and paying the monthly wages. Together with Fée’s driving knowledge and inspiration, Ardmore has become an international name, with exhibitions in London, New York, and Malaysia.