Ardmore: We Are Because of Others
Ardmore ceramics are found in major collections in several European countries, the United States and South Africa and have been given as state gifts to, among others, Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Queen Elizabeth II and Empress Michiko of Japan 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… Colorful, 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.
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