Ardmore adds African luxe to Design Joburg

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Design and decor lovers will head to Design Joburg at the Sandton Convention Centre in a few week’s time to see the leading lights in South African design. The premier interiors event is in its second year and we’re thrilled to have teamed up with the show’s creative directors, Andrea Kleinloog and Megan Hesse, along with Hendrick’s Gin to bring you the ultimate Gin Bar. We’ve transformed an area of the show into an uber-glam place to wile away the hours or to make a quick pit-stop between browsing the exhibits. Featuring our River Chase design, the cocktail lounge screams African luxe. If you're planning a visit to the event, make sure to stop by!

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Meet the Artists: Betty Ntshingila

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In the second of our Meet The Artists series, we focus on Ardmore Ceramic Art’s mother hen Betty Ntshingila. Betty’s latest works will be on show at the Voyages Of Discovery exhibition at Patrick Mavros' flagship London store next month. 

Betty was born in 1962 in Loskop, Emangweni, in KwaZulu-Natal. On leaving school she worked as a domestic worker on a farm in the Champagne Valley, close to the original Ardmore studio. She then built mud and daub houses near the town of Estcourt.

In 2002, Betty was introduced to Ardmore by sculptor Nhlanhla Nsundwane, as a way to support her family of six children. She began her sculpting career under Nhlanhla’s mentorship.

Betty’s skills as a female sculptor are unusual at Ardmore, yet she has found her niche and excelled in the traditionally male-dominated sculpture studio. Her caring and nurturing instincts are reflected in her work and her maternal traits are seen in her choice of subject matter: birds and bees all busy with life’s chores, building nests, laying eggs and feeding their offspring.

She is a special person and her pieces always reflect her kind and warm nature. She loves creating elephants and birds, especially owls. Her main inspiration is “imvelo”, which is Zulu for nature.

In May 2011, Betty accompanied Fée and painter Punch Shabalala to a symposium entitled Clay: The Art of Earth & Fire at the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, United States, where her talent was applauded. This trip proved to be a life-changing experience for Betty.

Betty says: “I am happy to be at Ardmore. It gives me fresh ideas every day and now I have experience in my art… I went to the USA and I was inspired by what I saw there.”

She continues to produce wonderful and inspiring work for Ardmore and is looking forward to her work being exhibited when Voyages sails to London next month. View some of her work here.


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Tis the season to… update your home

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We adjust our wardrobes with the change of season, so it makes sense to tweak our interiors, too. While warmer months signal a desire for brighter colours and the great outdoors, winter months herald hibernation, nesting at home under a sea of blankets and indulging in comfort food. 

It’s easy to make a few small tweaks to your home in order to embrace a particular time of year - for example choose different textiles to suit the seasons: light and fresh linens for summer or luxurious velvets in winter. Swap linen scatters for silks and velvets and you’ll create an inviting space to wile away the chillier months.

A darker palette makes for a cosy ambience, while brights mirror what’s happening in nature when the sun shines. Roll out rugs in colder months and enjoy floorboards and bare feet in the summer. When daylight is in short supply, make the most of table lamps, candles and dimmer switches.

Set your table to reflect the time of year: our Bird Fynbos tablecloth will look wonderful in the springtime, while Leopard Lily in Frost from our Zambezi range will make any dining room a feast for the eyes when the nights draw in.

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Meet the Artists: Jabu Nene

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The Ardmore Artists are an extraordinary group of talented people, who spend their days creating ceramics that wow collectors around the world. Under the expert guidance of Ardmore founder Fée Halsted and her daughters Catherine and Megan, the team of artists at Ardmore continues to grow and now numbers almost 70.

Jabu Nene is the fitting first subject of our Meet The Artists series. She was introduced to Fée when she was 15 years old, having discovered a passion for art at school. She joined the Ardmore team in 1991 and was mentored by renowned painter Punch Shabalala.

Jabu has developed her own unique painting style; her intricate designs come from her imagination. She fills the petals, leaves and animal skin she creates with geometric designs, zigzags, chevrons and squares in earthy tones. Her palette features soft pinks and rich browns and she often scratches into her paint with a sharp piece of wire, creating a sgraffito effect.

Her work has been exhibited at Christies in London, the Art Basel Design Fair in Miami and the Korean Biennale to mention just a few. One of the hugely successful Ardmore Collection wallpapers from British wallpaper house Cole & Son, inspired by one of her pieces, is aptly named "Jabu" in her honour

Her favourite artwork to date is the Big Five Urn.


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The devil is in the detail: the Zambezi Sofa

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The jewel in the Zambezi Fabric Collection, the Zambezi Sofa is an artwork in its own right and, oh, how we love it so. From the princely leopard who lounges centre stage, to the striking strelitzia blooms and feather detail, it perfectly depicts the Ardmore brand: authentic, playful, beautiful and bold.

The Zambezi Fabric Collection takes its name from the Zambezi River, which has captivated Ardmore founder Fée Halsted since she was a little girl growing up in Zimbabwe. The life that emanates in and around this vast stretch of water has been captured perfectly by Fée and the Ardmore Design team. 

Ardmore Artist Sidney Nyabeze hand painted the sofa design, which combines large-scale elements from the entire collection, telling a whimsical tale of life by the river. “You cannot get a true Ardmore Design look and feel unless you draw the original by hand - and there are no shortcuts,” says Fée. Check out one of the original drawings of the sofa in our main image above.

Upholstered in fine printed cotton, the sofa is made up of ten separate panels and has kiaat legs to create a French-style feel. As Fée says in her notes: “This sofa is not for boys to chill on”! A limited edition, it makes a statement wherever it sits.

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