Art and Nature Ardmore Ceramics South Africa

By Stevens, Ingrid | Ceramics Art & Perception, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Art and Nature Ardmore Ceramics South Africa


Stevens, Ingrid, Ceramics Art & Perception


ARDMORE CERAMIC ART IS AN ENTERPRISE THAT produces decorative ceramics in the rural KwaZulu-Natal Midlands of South Africa. It has been in existence for more than 25 years, since 1985, when a newly qualified and newly married fine arts graduate, Fee Halsted-Berning, moved to a farm near the village of Winterton and began making ceramics, in order to earn a living. She worked with a local woman, Bonnie Ntshalintshali, (1967-1999) (1) making painted sculptures. Ardmore has since become famous both nationally and internationally, as have many of the individual ceramics artists and it has achieved the highest prices ever paid for South African ceramics. (2) The enterprise now employs 100 people, working from two separate studios that include a gallery and museum.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Like much of rural South Africa, rural KwaZulu-Natal is a poverty-stricken area, rife with AIDS, (3) poor living conditions and unemployment. One possible solution to the problem of poverty is the growth of small enterprises, which contributes to economic growth and job creation. The crafts sector is seen as an important part of small enterprise development. The Midlands Meander, where Ardmore is situated, is part of a tourist route that attracts local and international tourists. This experience of South African culture is largely dependent upon crafts such as the ceramics made at Ardmore.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

There are two interesting aspects to Ardmore's designs: the first is the actual ceramics produced and the second is the structure of the enterprise in terms of its business and production processes. Ardmore products (4) have changed throughout its history and different artists contribute different creative approaches, yet the products remain identifiable as Ardmore's. They consist firstly of a relatively simple studio line of cups, bowls, platters, small jugs, egg cups and candlesticks that have simple modelling, for example, platters surrounded by modelled leaves and teacups with sculpted handles based on animals, all painted with elaborate surface patterns. Halsted-Berning refers to these as 'curios'.

Secondly, the studio makes painted sculptures and white sculptures, largely inspired by Ntalintshali's original works, which are generally tableaux or totems of figures, animals and flora, that reflect various narratives (for example, scenes from the Bible or in the studio to name just a few). These are exhibited and sold as 'art' in serious local and international galleries, are expensive, are collectable and can be found in museums or are sold at auction. The third range, which at present seems to be the focus of the studio, are the large, multifaceted, modelled and painted vessels. Few of the Ardmore products are functional, being too elaborate and beautiful, as well as expensive, although it is conceivable that smaller pieces might be utilised.

In general, the Ardmore style consists of simple shapes, elaborated with complex modelled additions and highly detailed, brightly coloured painted surfaces. The essential Ardmore subject is nature, which is not restricted to South African subjects but includes natural themes from around the world. The vessels are covered with modelled animals such as leopards, lions, cheetahs, panthers, tigers, elephants, zebras, giraffes, fish and birds such as toucans, flamingos and sunbirds, as well as many flowers both indigenous and exotic.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

They reflect nature in the sense explained by the historian Jacques Barzin (2000:756), as an entity that does not exist but as one that is constructed from man's experiences and for his purposes. It "feeds him, it yields in a thousand ways to his handling and it is beautiful. The sight of it often gives pure, mindless joy." Nature, as seen by Barzin and others has, for Westerners, associations not with the primitive, fearsome and untamable forces of nature but with the domestic, the tamed and the bountiful.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Art and Nature Ardmore Ceramics South Africa
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.