The world-renowned Ardmore studio creates a range of functional, quality ceramic and non-ceramic products including dinnerware, tapestries, furniture, fabrics for soft furnishings and more, with distinctive imagery and styling that make them totally unique and amazingly beautiful.
I can’t remember when I first came across Ardmore but I’ve wanted to visit it’s existing home on the Meander since we’ve been back in SA and I’ve never quite gotten round to it – small kids and beautiful ceramics do not mix and that’s pretty much been my life for the past 3 years – but thanks to a spot of load shedding a few Friday’s ago, I finally managed to tick it off my to do list.
Ardmore headquarters is situated in the Caversham Valley area of the KZN Midlands – studio, museum, gallery and offices in the most picturesque surroundings imaginable – most fitting for the beautiful work they create.
Uplifting and empowering it’s local artists, and the community, have been a priority for Ardmore since it was established by Fée Halsted in the 80s. Artists are given training, direction, materials, a studio and a guaranteed market for their work, supported by a skilled marketing and administrative team.
“Ardmore has always had an open door policy towards people who want to learn and develop their creative talent and earn a sustainable income through art. In addition Ardmore assists the artists by cooking a nutritious meal each day and providing healthcare. Training programmes have included life skills, financial planning, health and HIV-Aids awareness.”
(Read more about the story of Ardmore and it’s incredible artists on their website)
It may sound completely ridiculous but I was quite overcome with emotion upon entering the gallery and museum. The workmanship and detail in each piece is out of this world. The imagery, design style and colours speak to me, and I love how there is such a strong focus on the stories behind each artist… The most touching (sad) part was seeing the portraits of deceased artists displayed all over the walls, many of them having died from illnesses related to HIV Aids which is so prevalent in many of our local communities here in SA.
Visiting the current makers just outside the gallery and museum was an absolute highlight – to see works in progress, hear their stories, watch them as they threw, molded and sculptured wet clay. Just amazing!
If you have any interest whatsoever in South African art – you MUST go there next time you are in the area, well worth a visit. Totally saving up now to start my own Ardmore collection at home ;)