If you’ve ever snooped through the rooms on our website you might have noticed the whimsical, bold design of the fabric on the headboard in room three at Covent Garden Hotel, or the cheeky monkey sofas in The Croc Bowling Alley at Ham Yard Hotel. These fabrics are from Ardmore, a small company in rural South Africa doing big things on a global scale. Interestingly, the Ardmore fabric ranges are a later addition to their repertoire, they are actually better known for their intricate and fantastical ceramic sculptures.
The story of Ardmore began in 1985 when founder, Fee Halsted, started teaching ceramics to a group of talented people from the rural surrounds of her farm in Kwa-Zulu Natal.
Fast forward 36 years and the exquisite pieces produced by the studio are recognised by Christie’s, Bonhams and Sotheby’s as highly prized modern collectibles.
Every creation begins with a spark between the artist and the greatest inspiration of them all, nature.
In order to bring them to life the pieces have two parents, a sculptor and a painter, and they work together using this form of artwork to express their identities, hopes and dreams.
Personal symbolism and past experiences literally shape these beauties and you can really see the love and care that is poured into each one. I love how the artists manage to capture the essence and mannerisms of each animal they portray, like the quintessentially wide-eyed look of an African Bush Baby on a ceramic planter or the playfulness of Vervet Monkeys chasing each other around the platter below.
A quick perusal of Ardmore’s Instagram account show vibrant pieces, bursting with life and imagination. The video of one of the artists painting a pangolin sculpture shows just how delicate and intricate the work is.
We were lucky enough to have a Zebra platter feature in our pop-up Caribbean Suite at Turnell & Gigon, seen here resting on top of a Joe Fan table.
In 2010, the 25th year of its existence, Ardmore produced their very first textiles range and, much like the ceramics, growth has been exponential.
Collaborations with Hermes on a range of scarves and Cole & Son on a wallpaper collection followed, allowing the Ardmore studio to cement its spot as a group of internationally recognised artists.
From its humble beginnings Ardmore is now home to an enclave of over 70 artists and its deep rooted philosophy of nurturing growth in the individual as well as the community can be perfectly summed up by the Ardmore saying, “we are because of others.”