The story of Ardmore begins almost thirty years ago when in 1985 Fée Halsted started on a journey teaching ceramics to a talented group of rural people on a farm in a remote corner of the Kwazulu-Natal province, South Africa.
“Ardmore” is derived from the name of the first farm Fée lived on in the entrancing Champagne Valley in Kwazulu-Natal, this farm being the place she first met Bonnie Ntshalintshali. Bonnie became Fée’s first student and in 1990 under Fée’s mentorship they were jointly awarded the standard bank young artist award. Bonnie along with other artists then sadly passed away from AIDS in 1999, and the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum was erected in her honour.
A few years later and with the exponential growth of Ardmore, Fée moved to a picturesque smallholding in the Caversham Valley, relocating the Ardmore studio and Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum to her home and creating a unique home for the Ardmore family.
At the turn of the decade, Ardmore celebrated its 25th anniversary that saw the company take a bold step forward with the release of a hugely successful, experimental textile range in 2010. The release of this range sculpting the future of Ardmore Design which would later be launched in 2013, aiming to create a multi-faceted future for the Ardmore name, the artists and Fée’s children, Jonathan, Catherine and Megan Berning. That same year Fée was honoured by the Women’s Campaign International in recognition of her contributions towards empowering women and not long after accomplished yet another personal creative project, publishing her book in 2012, Ardmore – We are because of others.
Today the bustling studio is home to over 70 African artists whose ceramic works have been recognized as modern day collectables by auction houses Christies, Bonham’s and Sotheby’s. Ardmore Design has emerged creating vibrant and elegant fabric collections sought after by leading interior decorators as well as working in collaboration with renowned French fashion house Hermès, producing a line of lavish scarves of the highest quality, and British wallpaper manufacturers Cole and Son.