Ardmore African Ceramic Artists

Turquoise, blue and white Ardmore Platter with four zebras  on the edge

Ardmore platter with four zebras



Twin handles sugar bowl with zebra lid by Ardmore

Ardmore twin handled jar with lid



  Ceramic Ardmore Tea Pot decorated with cheetahs

A beautifully  intrinsic  balance of rich colours characterize the ceramic pottery of Ardmore.


The vibrant ceramics of Ardmore, ranging from functional domestic ware to sculptural art in the highly decorative African tradition, offer a fine insight into the subtle influences of rural potters at work in the Champagne Valley of KwaZulu Natal. These artists combine the elements of their tribal tradition with the unique  perspective of a new world. Although the nerve centre of Ardmore has moved to Lavendula in the Natal Midlands, the majority of the artists continue to work on the Ardmore farm near their family homes in the Champagne Valley.

The History Of Ardmore  :    The story of Ardmore began in 1985 when Fèe Halsted lived on the farm Ardmore, in the Champagne Valley under the shadow of the Drakensberg Mountains. Her passions for ceramic art had been honed during her five years at the University of Natal when she had studied fine art and then completed a two year advanced diploma in ceramics.

It was on the Ardmore farm – by ingenuity, by thrift and by chance – that Fèe developed the style that has made Ardmore ceramics famous. “I used to make tiles,” she remembers, “when one cracked, I’d stick a rabbit or bird on the top to hide it.” Then Fèe decided she needed an assistant. This was when luck played it’s part. Janet Ntshalintshali who worked in the house brought her 18 year old daughter, Bonnie, to meet Fèe.

Bonnie who had polio as a child could hardly walk, but showed a natural aptitude for ceramic art. Her ability with colour, design and texture and Ardmore Ceramic Artistsher diligence was everything Fèe could have desired in a student. Within five years, in 1990 Fèe and Bonnie had jointly won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award and their work was being shown in galleries internationally.

When Ardmore first opened the doors of its ceramic studio, the ceramics were produced mainly by women. Gradually, however, their male partners realized that they, too, could work with clay under the scenic backdrop of the Champagne and Cathkin mountain peaks of the Drakensberg range located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. These men have transformed Ardmore’s conservative functional earthenware into a more sculptural and courageous art form.

Ardmore Sth Africa

Their patience and extraordinary ability to pay attention to detail gives rise to artwork of tremendous charm and beauty. The creative talent of the artists, their learned skills and their desire to succeed, have resulted in their earning a special status amongst their friends and families and becoming known as the `Isigiwili’, which describes their abundant good fortune.

The women, in turn, have responded to the new creative energy that has flowed into Ardmore and, of their own accord, have modified their style of painting. Their fine feathering, scaling and bead- and basket-like patterns now enhance the form. Ardmore has evolved into a true unique sculptural art.


All the rhythm, colour, humor and spontaneity of the Zulu artists are on display here for their imaginative ceramic artwork.

Hoopoe Tureen vividly coloured  with bird figures by Ardmore

Hoopoe Tureen –  Sculptor; Somandla Ntshalintshali, Painter; Goodness Mpinga



Chamelion Tea Pot by Ardmore in lime green and orange with a bird figure lidChamelion Tea pot –  Ceramic sculptor; Somandla Ntshalintshali Painter; Winnie Nene



Bird Vase Ardmore with raised blue flowers and a black-yellow and red bird

Bird Vase – Sculptor; Lovemore/ Sondelani Ntshalintshali.  Painter; Winnie Nene



Monkey Jug by ardmore featuring a monkey encasing sculptureMonkey Jug – Sculptor- Sabelo/ Sfiso Mvelase  Painter; Goodness Mpinga




Zebra Rhino Platter - central flower motif with red flower and green leaf handles and rhino and zebra figures on the edge Zebra Rhino Platter – Sculptor; Alex Sibanda. Painter; Octavia Buthelezi



Goat Basketing Vessel made by Ardmore - goat figurine lid in black, red anmd whiteGoat basketing ceramic vessel  – Sculptor; Octavia Mazibuko Painter; Goodness Mpinga




Leopard Bird Bowl by Ardmore - central pink flower motif, large flower handles with leopard and bird figures on the rimLeopard Bird Bowl – Sculptor; Somandla Ntshalintshali Painter; Rosemary Mazibuko




Hippo Vase Ardmore Pottery african-figures-riding-hippos on the top rim, with hippo handles and smaller hippo figures on the footed baseHippo Vase Sculptor; Lovemore/ Alex Sibanda Painter; Jabu Nene


In the beginning  at Ardmore no traditional techniques were used. Their work broke from the ceramic conventions of the time, fired terracotta clay was painted with plaka paints, boot polish and oven blackeners. Glues and putty were also used. Later American Amaco paints and transparent glazes brought an exuberant use of colour and the intricacy of painting style to the ceramics they were making.


Leopard Jug - black and white chequered base and band around the top rim, leopard handle and figures on the side Leopard Jug – Sculptor; Lovemore/ Sondelani Ntshalintshali Painter; Milo Dlamini




Ardmore Elephant Tea Pot with a large red flower motif and elephant handle with an elephant figure on the lidElephant Tea Pot – Sculptor; Lovemore/ Sondelani Ntshalintshali Painter; Nondumiso Mfuphi



Blue Guinea Fowl Salt and Pepper Shakers red crests and beaked birds Guineafowl Salt & Pepper Shakers -Sculptor; Betty Ndaba Painter; Zinhle Nene




Ardmore Elephant Jug African Pottery with large white flower motif and elephant handleElephant Jug – Sculptor; Sabelo/ Sondy Ntshalintshali Painter; Senzo Duma





Ardmore Cheetah Platter - large flower motif with four cheetah figures on the rim

Cheetah Platter  – Sculptor; Thabo Mbhele Painter; Senzo Duma




Hoopoe Tureen Ardmore Ceramic black-white and red hoopoe birds on the lid and handlesHoopoe Tureen – Sculptor; Octavia Mazibuko Painter; Rosemary Mzibuko




Ceramic Lidded Giraffe Tureen by Ardmore with 4 giraffe handles and 2 giraffes on the lid in black, red and yellowGiraffe Tureen – Sculptor; Sabelo Khoza Painter; Sharon Tlou



Ardmore Ceramic Hoopoe bird figurine

Hoopoe bird on logs



Ardmore-monkey tureen decorated with green leaves on cream, twin monkey lid and handles

Monkey tureen – Ardmore, South Africa



Ardmore egg cups combined with central yellow-bird in a tree

Bird Egg Cup Sculptor; Lebohang Molefe Painter; Winnie Nene



Ardmore Porcupine Sweet dish with four legged base

Porcupine Sweet dish –  Sculptor: Victor Shabalala Painter: Zinhle Nene



Some of the Ardmore artists:

Ardmore Artists with their ceramic creations




Ardmore ceramic artists

Ardmore artists


Updated –

Ardmore baluster vase with giraffe handles in black, red, green

 Ardmore Giraffe Vase

Painter – Sharon Tlou & Sculptors -Sondelani Ntshalintshali, Sabelo Khoza




African butterfly vase by Ardmore - large butterfly on each side of vase

Butterfly vase – Ardmore, ZA

Sculptor – Somandla Aaron Ntshalintshali & Painter-Sthabiso Hadebe




Ardmore-traditional style ceramic basket with figure lid

Traditional basket shape ceramic vessel with lid – Ardmore




Ardmore giraffe platter with a central white slower motif and bananas on the edge

Ardmore giraffe platter



Large raised Ardmore zebra handled jug

 Ardmore jug


Some ceramic pieces currently available :

Vases---Jugs----Ardmore-Ceramic-Art--Buck-Jug Jug with huge red flower and buck handle

 Ardmore Buck Jug




Ardmore ceramic figurine Hippo-Riders 2 native africans riding a white hippo

Hippo Riders – Ardmore



Red Rhino-Rider-London----Ardmore-Ceramic-Art- African boy with umbrella riding a red rhinocerous

 Red rhino rider – Ardmore, London




Gift-Collection----Ardmore-Ceramic-Art-Zebra butter dish

Zebra butter dish – Ardmore




Vases---Jugs----Ardmore-Ceramic-Art---Sable-Jug   large flower motif jug with sable habdle

Ardmore Sable Jug



More Ardmore Ceramics here 

More posts:


  1. felicia
    Posted August 21, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    IM in love,,,,the finest potery Iv seen in a long while. Are they for sale????

  2. Becky
    Posted August 28, 2015 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    This art a is truly amazing. Keep up the good work!

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