After a hugely successful show in Cape Town, Ardmore Ceramic Art's latest exhibition, Voyage Of Discovery, opens in London tomorrow (17th May). If you are in the capital, do make a date to see this wonderful collection of artworks, from intrepid monkeys to hot-air ballooning hippos, all of which will be on display alongside Ardmore Design's Zambezi sofa, new table linens, fabrics and cushions. The exhibition runs until Sunday 27th May in the beautiful surroundings of Patrick Mavros’ flagship Fulham Road store. Don't miss it!
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!
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 Voyage 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.
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.
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.
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.
As Dutch trend forecaster Li Edelkoort wows audiences at the Design Indaba this week, what better time to talk about what’s hot in the world of interiors…
Are you a dedicated follower of fashion or do you refuse to be a slave to the latest trends? At Ardmore, we love keeping an eye on what’s new, what’s hot and what’s had its moment. But how do you translate the latest trends into your own home? Whether you want to dip your little toe in or embrace one trend wholeheartedly, here’s how:
It’s all about Animal magic
Animals take centre stage, the wilder the animal the better. The love affair with all things Africa continues apace and we’ve seen many princely leopards, frolicking zebra and lions roaring through interiors all over the world. Paper your walls with the Ardmore Collection from British wallpaper house Cole & Son, a veritable feast of animal intrigue which will transform any interior. Or add a touch to your table with our new Zambezi table linens, where leopards bask in the African sun and buck frolic amongst vines - a guaranteed dinner party conversation starter.
Go luxe with Velvet
Velvet is having a moment, according to Li Edelkoort. Oozing luxury, use velvet to create texture to your surroundings. Add velvet scatters to your sofa to up the glamour stakes whatever the season.
Black is Back
The muted greys of the last few years have been replaced with black in all its saturated glory. Don’t be shy, go bold. Make an impact in a room with a single piece of furniture like our Zambezi Sofa, which has set hearts racing all over town.
We’ll admit it, red can be a touch scary when it comes to incorporating it into your home. But if you’re brave, it can give the most fabulous results. Picture the scene: lunch outdoors on a blue sky day, your table dressed in our Royal Leopard Runner in Sunset. You get the idea.
There’s nothing new about florals in interiors, yet the 2018 slant on the stalwart is fresh and bold. Rather than feminine florals, think furniture upholstered in striking blooms like our Zambezi Monkey Bean Night Velvet Couch or nod to the trend on your table with our Leopard Lily napkins.
As Ardmore Ceramic Art's latest exhibition Voyage Of Discovery gets underway at Cellars-Hohnenort in Cape Town this week, we asked Fée Halsted about her favourite places to travel...
What is your favourite holiday destination?
Anywhere in the bush. I love the peace, the stillness, the night skies. No one cares if you are wearing make-up! I love the bird calls in the morning and the sounds at night. You get a lot of peace there. And I enjoy the unexpected - you never know what’s around the corner.
Where did you holiday as a child?
We went to Plettenburg Bay, where I went mussel cracker fishing with my uncle. And to our ranch in Matetsi near Victoria Falls. Those holidays were about family, camping, sleeping under the stars…
Favourite place in South Africa?
Home in the KZN Midlands. I live on the confluence of two rivers. There is so much peace there and the rivers talk to me. On one side the landscape is very Bush-like and the other is more European where poppies and roses grow. I get the best of both!
Where should someone who has never been to SA before visit?
KZN Midlands. It’s paradise! Green, lush, rolling hills, lots of rain and oak trees.
Which city most inspires you?
London, Paris and New York. I enjoy all the things I don't get at home: the museums, theatre, shows. I love the art galleries, the beautiful shops and shop windows.
Ardmore founder Fée Halsted celebrates her 60th birthday this year and, to mark the occasion, she and the Ardmore Artists are preparing to take you on a fantastical journey with their latest exhibition Voyage Of Discovery. Be it by Hot Air balloon, mokoro, bicycle, bakkie, bus or plane - or even on the back of a hippo or on the wings of a butterfly - the exhibition is set to be an intrepid adventure, exploring the world of Ardmore and its African roots. Running from 16th-18th February at Cape Town’s Cellars-Hohenort, if you’re in the Mother city, make a date and get carried away…
Read about Fée's very own Voyages of Discovery here.
Maison & Objet Paris: eight vast halls bursting with the latest and greatest from the world of interiors. The trade show is a mecca for style hunters from all corners of the globe; influencers looking for the next big thing. At last month’s event, colour took centre stage. Jewel tones, deep blues, hot reds and a smattering of ultraviolet - Pantone’s rather controversial colour of 2018 - were all on show. At Ardmore, we’re not shy when it comes to colour. In fact, we’re positively obsessed by it. You can add a pop of colour to your home in many ways: go bold with our brand new selection of tablecloths, add drama with a statement piece of furniture, like our Zambezi Monkey Bean Bench in Flame Velvet or simply incorporate a few scatter cushions into an existing scheme. Go on, colour your world.
We’re delighted to introduce our latest table linen range, based on our successful Zambezi Fabric Collection. The sumptuous tablecloths, napkins and runners will add African luxe to any setting.
Fée Halsted says: “Our table linens have a celebratory feel; rich, colourful and elegant in design. Royal sable antelope, zebra, leopard and our mischievous monkeys entwine with lily and vine motifs.”
The collection comprises of tablecloths, runners and napkins all made from the finest linen/cotton blend. Available in an array of fresh and timeless colourways, designs include Leopard Lily, Monkey Bean and Bush Bandit. To make your table a talking point, shop the collection here.
At Ardmore, there’s a story behind every design, whether it’s one of African folklore or simply the wonder of the flora and fauna that surrounds us, the designs offer a talking point that goes hand in hand with their aesthetic appeal.
Back in December 2016, when we were getting ready to launch our Zambezi Collection, we decided to create a few furniture pieces to accompany the collection launch, so that we could exhibit our designs and fabrics as we envisioned others using them. One of these pieces was an occasional chair in the modern style, which has taken so to heart, that we've now had the chair upholstered in all four colourways of our afro-geometric Feather design.
With Summer having all but overtaken Spring in South Africa, we thought a supplement to the Zambezi Collection was necessary, so in addition to our luxurious velvet cushions, we've added a selection of scatter cushions to the line-up made of fine, natural linen, featuring the designs from our Zambezi Collection.
Chic, elegant and beautifully crafted, our handbags are a must-have accessory. Made near Johannesburg in South Africa, with incredibly high standards of workmanship, our handbags are proving to be true lifelong companions. We developed them with our Qalakabusha range, featuring spirited depictions of our effervescent local fauna and flora, and patterns inspired by nature. With full-grain leather handles and detailing, the bags are ready for lifelong journeys.