Cole & Son have just introduced the Ardmore Collection, a range of new and exciting wallpapers in collaboration with Ardmore Ceramic Art.
Ardmore’s charming and exuberant ceramic creations, have both a narrative and a strong heritage rooted in African tradition and culture, and it is this storytelling through the language of craft and craftsmanship which Cole & Son value and share. The Ardmore Collection features a range of conversational, vibrant, pictorial wallpapers and borders that add a new dimension to the Cole & Son library.
Cole & Son Creative Director Shauna Dennison says of the collection, ‘Having coveted Ardmore Ceramics for several years and being strongly drawn to their whimsicality and narrative, it is now a privilege and a delight to be recreating these fabulous Ardmore stories onto wallpaper.’
Ardmore founder Fée Halsted also commented: ‘For 31 years the Ardmore artists and I have toiled away in KwaZulu-Natal creating fanciful ceramics that have provided an income to feed many a family. The fact that Cole & Son discovered and chose our South African designs and artistry to place on their new collection is an honour and we pride ourselves on being the first African designers to have achieved such a prestigious accolade! Working with Cole & Son's CreativeDirector Shauna Dennison, has been such fun and for me that is what it is all about.’
Colourful, vibrant and quirky, Ardmore ceramics celebrate Africa’s birds, big cats, elephants, rhinos, crocodiles, mischievous monkeys and exotic flowers; as well as the beautiful patterns of Zulu beadwork and woven basket ware. Acclaimed as "modern day collectibles" by the auction house, Christie's, the work of Ardmore's artists has won them numerous awards.
Their work features in leading galleries and collections in South Africa and abroad, including the Museum of Art & Design in New York, the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, the Ford Foundation, New York and the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts, Florida.
About Ardmore Ceramic Art
Ardmore Ceramic Art was established thirty years ago on Ardmore farm, South Africa, when Fée Halstead met Bonnie Ntshalintshali, the daughter of her housekeeper. Those early days saw Fée, who has a BA (Fine Arts) Honours degree, sharing her knowledge with Bonnie whose polio meant that she was unable to work in the fields.
Fee and Bonnie quickly developed an artistic synergy and under Fee’s mentorship, Bonnie’s natural skills as an artist blossomed. Five years later, in 1990, the two women were jointly awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, the first such artistic partnership to be recognised. Following this success Fée offered other local women the opportunity to train at Ardmore. Many of them, including Punch Shabalala, and sisters, Jabu and Zinhle Nene have continued to work alongside her for more than 30 years. Zinhle Nene continues to work alongside her today.
Known for their stunning pieces that broke from the ceramic conventions of the time, fired terracotta clay was adorned with plaka paints, boot polish, glues and putty. Later American Amaco paints and transparent glazes brought vibrant colour and a fine painting style to the ceramics. Today, located in the Caversham Valley, alongside the gallery and the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum which was created to honour Fée’s co-artist and friend after her tragic death from HIV/AIDS, the artists from the Ardmore studio are given training, direction, materials and a market for their work.
Lately Ardmore Ceramic Art has widened its scope of creativity in new non ceramic products and collaborations under Halsted Design. The lives of the artists and those of their families have been uplifted through the development of their artistic talents and their success has given them independence, status and financial security.
About Cole & Son
Founded in 1875 by Jon Perry in Islington, north London, Cole & Son’s vast archive contains some of the most important historic wallpaper designs in the world. Cole & Son continues to produce innovative and beautiful designs; their collections reflect their long and distinguished history as well as their continuing passion for new and exciting wallpapers. Alongside collaborations with inventive and influential brands such as Fornasetti and The Historic Royal Palaces, Cole & Son offer a breadth of designs ranging from traditional damasks to contemporary geometrics.