Fée Halsted

Fée Halsted was born in 1958 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In the early 70s she travelled south to study at the Natal University, Pitermaritzburg, for a BA Fine Arts degree.

This was followed by a two-year postgraduate course in ceramics.

She then lectured for a short time at the Durban Technikon, but soon found herself married and living on the farm Ardmore in the Champagne Valley in the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, with her husband, James, in 1985.

Fée’s first student was Bonnie Ntshalintshali, the daughter of a farm employee.

Bonnie’s natural aptitude for ceramic art soon attracted other members of Bonnie’s family who asked if they too could learn from Fèe. This led to the creation of Ardmore, the largest ceramic art studio in South Africa.

Bonnie became known as one of South Africa’s leading ceramic artists, while Ardmore’s exciting diversity of ceramic art has been endorsed by Christie’s, London as ‘modern collectables’.

Fée’s merging of western ceramics technology with African art is only part of the story of Ardmore. Of even more significance has been her encouragement of their imagination based on nature, Zulu folklore and tradition.

Fée has been described as ‘a creator of artists.’ As well as giving so much of her artistic ability to her creative team, Fée has won numerous art awards, including the Standard Bank Young Artist’s Award, which she won jointly in 1990 with Bonnie Ntshalintshali.

The large group of sculptors and painters who produce ceramics under the Ardmore label amply demonstrate the diversity of talents that has emerged under Fée’s tuition.

As she says: “The Zulu people have a wonderful sense of colour and rhythm and a gift for design and balance, all they needed was opportunity.”

In 2015, the year Ardmore celebrated it 30 year anniversary, Fée was honoured with a doctorate from the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

In 2016 Fée was honoured for her contribution to the arts in South Africa at the Mbokodo Awards. She was nominated in the category of traditional and indigenous art, which celebrates women whose work, be it music, painting, handicraft or other form, is created using indigenous materials, based on traditional methods and meanings within the context of a given culture.

Exhibitions

Every exhibition


As mentor and teacher to every artist to have worked at Ardmore, Fée has led or participated in every exhibition of Ardmore Ceramics.

Awards


1987Corona Del mare Young artist award

1990Standard bank Young Artist award

2010Womans Campaign International Award

2015Honorary Doctorate

2016Mbokodo Award

Publications


Cruise, W. (1991) Contemporary Ceramics in South Africa, Cape Town: Struik Winchester - p. 92, 94, 148, 174-177 & 190

Arnold, M. (1996) Women and Art in South Africa, Cape Town: David Philip Publishers - p. 16

Scott, G. (1998) Ardmore: An African Discovery, Cape Town: Fernwood Press

Young, A. (1999) Setting Up A Pottery Workshop, London: A, C & Black - p.66

Coetsee, E. (2002) Craft Art in South Africa, Cape Town: Struik - p. 31,35 & 58

Vincentelli, M. (2003) Women Potters: Transforming Traditions, London: A, C & Black - p. 62-63 & 187

Shapiro, T. (2003) SA Masterpiece, Johannesburg: SA Masterpiece - p. 56-59

Watterson, L. (ed.) (2009) Standard Bank Young Artist Awards 25 Years, Johannesburg: DeskLink Media - p.60

Kerrod, J. (2010) Southern African Ceramics: Their Marks, Monograms & Signatures, Johannesburg; BoE Stockbrokers - p. 4-12

D'Alton, M. (ed.) (2010) The Global Africa Project, New York: Museum of Arts and Design - p. 74 & 210

Hoffman, J. & Pedrosa, A. (ed.) (2011) Untitled (12th Istanbul Biennal) 2011: The Catalogue, Istanbul: Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts - p. 184

Metsola, S. (ed.) (2011) Kiasma ARS 11, Helsinki: Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma p. 234

Bell, B. (2011) Meeting the Makers, Pietermaritzburg: Tatham Art Gallery - p. 29

de Waal, Edmund (ed.) (2011) The Pot Book, London: Phaidon - p.13

Theron, R. (ed.) (2012) Ardmore: We Are Because of Others, Cape Town: Fernwood Press