Discovering the story behind Ardmore Ceramics

Encouraging exuberant colours and intricate designs, the founders of Ardmore Ceramics, Bonnie Ntshalintshali and Fée Halsted have broken many traditional ceramic conventions. While it may seem a norm to break from traditions in the 21st Century, back in the 1980s, this was considered groundbreaking.

With over 25 years of history, Ardmore Ceramics is South Africa’s premier ceramic studio. Co-founder Fée Halsted collaborates and mentors approximately 40 artists to create pieces that display in fine art collections and exhibitions.  Here’s more about the history behind this heart-warming success story:

Ardmore Ceramics

The joining of two artists

In 1985, after obtaining her BA Honours degree, Fée Halsted returned to her family home on Ardmore Farm in KwaZulu-Natal. It was then when she searched for someone who could learn the art of creating ceramics. This is how Fée met the daughter of her housekeeper, Bonnie Ntshalintshali. Bonnie had Polio Disease, which meant that she was unable to work on the field. However, Bonnie had a natural talent for creating art. Together, the two quickly began collaborating and with the mentorship of Fée, Bonnie’s talent soon blossomed. Five years later, in 1990, Fée and Bonnie were jointly awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award.

Ardmore Ceramics

Lobola (1988) by Bonnie Ntshalintshali portrays the South African Lobola custom. Source:

Rising to the occasion

Their artistic partnership was the first of its kind to be recognised and with an award under their belt came high demands to create ceramic art for exhibitions. The demands lead Fée to offer other local women the opportunity to produce creative pieces and become part of the flourishing studio.

Today, even after the death of Bonnie, a world-renowned artist, her legacy still lives on. In 2003, Fée opened the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum of Ardmore, which is the first museum to be dedicated to black female artists in South Africa. This success story doesn’t end here, however – Ardmore Ceramics has progressed into creating artistic, luxurious, functional items such as tableware, textiles, and stationery.

Ardmore Ceramics

Hippo Rider sculpture. Source:

Becoming an international name

Ardmore Ceramics’ creations focus on telling the stories of Zulu people, their culture and their imaginations. Due to the authenticity, these creations are featured in galleries and auction houses all around the world.

H2: An African adventure awaits

If you’d like to tour the gallery, experience the stories of the fine art at their studio and purchase any pieces, embark on one of Rovos Rail train for a phenomenal experience in luxury and style.

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