We Are Because of Others

Ardmore Ceramic Art

Significant book on the internationally acclaimed Ardmore Ceramic Art studio which is an extraordinary South African success story about art and its power to overcome poverty and help people live positively with HIV and AIDS.
Date Published :
July 2012
Publisher :
Penguin Random House South Africa
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781431701117

Stock Status : In stock


Ardmore ceramics are found in major collections in several European countries, the United States and South Africa and have been given as state gifts to, among others, Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac, Queen Elizabeth II and Empress Michiko of Japan Giraffe stretch out their necks and bat-eared foxes curl their tails to make handles for jugs, vases and tureens. Inquisitive monkeys peer over the edge of a planter, teasing the leopards below them. Magical creatures wear cloaks of flowers, spots and stripes; a turbanned Zulu figure sits astride a hippo… Colorful, imaginative, vibrant, delicate and dramatic – these are just some of the hallmarks of the artworks that have garnered international accolades for Ardmore Ceramic Art in rural KwaZulu-Natal.

It is here, in South Africa’s most successful ceramics studio set in the verdant Midlands, that exquisitely handcrafted and highly detailed figurative works and functional ware are created by more than fifty artists who draw on Zulu traditions and folklore, history, the natural world, and their own lives for inspiration. In turn, it is the lives of the sculptors and painters of Ardmore that fire the vision of the woman behind it all: Fée Halsted is an artist whose love of teaching and determination to fight poverty and AIDS have set others on the path of creative self-discovery and ultimately worldwide acclaim.

Ardmore – We Are Because of Others tells the extraordinary story of this famous studio – from its humble beginnings in a poverty-stricken corner of South Africa to its fame as a producer of exceptional and irresistible objets d’art prized by collectors, galleries and museums throughout the world. It is also the story of the indomitable Fée Halsted who is the driving force behind the enterprise, and the artists whose inventive spirit and fearless creativity are at the heart of Ardmore.


"Ardmore: We Are Because of Others" by Fee Halsted, photography by Roger de la Harpe is an exquisite coffee table book about the Ardmore Ceramic Art of Kwa-Zulu-Natal in Africa. Fee Halsted, a white woman who grew up in Africa and loves the people, is an accomplished artist, but she realized about 30 years ago as she was teaching that the real, meaningful art she could help create with her talents was the young artists themselves. One day David Middlebrook, an American artist, appeared in her studio in Africa and introduced her to paints and clay that gave the talented artists new media that made the way of producing the works of art much simpler. She has helped educate many young artists in Africa and became one of their sponsors/patrons, along with other charitable organizations she has connected them. She, and one of the other artists, began the Ceramic Arts Studio in a small, poor village, to empower the women there. Through the years, a huge AIDS epidemic which took the lives of many of the community, and through enormous difficulties the studio has grown to esteem throughout the world, with the exquisite pieces, created by these African artists to show their country, their customs, and the natural world they live in, has gained international fame. The highly prized pieces are now in museums and collections around the world and Ardmore artists have shows at their own headquarters and around the world. The book is a beautiful story of the jubilation of art triumphing over many impossible situations so that the free spirit of these lovely people is exalted, enriching thousands of lives, not only of the artists and their families, but also of those collectors around the world. You will REALLY WANT THIS BOOK!

- Bonnie Neely, Real Travel Adventures

In art history, ceramics and ceramic art mean art objects such as figures, tiles, and tableware made from clay and other raw materials by the process of pottery. Some ceramic products are regarded as fine art, while others are regarded as decorative, industrial or applied art objects, or as artifacts in archaeology. They may be made by one individual or in a factory where a group of people design, make and decorate the ware. Decorative ceramics are sometimes called "art pottery". Ardmore Ceramic Art was established by Fee Halsted on Ardmore Farm in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu-Natal. "Ardmore: We Are Because of Others" is a superbly illustrated, 216 page compendium showcasing an impressive roster of ceramic artists and their equally impressive creations. The ceramic art examples are elegant, exquisite, graceful, and works of enduring beauty. Enhanced with an informed and informative commentary on the artists and their represented works, "Ardmore: We Are Because of Others" is very highly recommended as an enduringly popular addition to personal, community, and academic library Art History reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

- Midwest Book Review

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