Our ceramics are made by local artists - ordinary people from the Midlands of KwaZulu-Natal, who are given training, materials, a studio and a guaranteed market for their work, under the guidance of our founder, Fée Halsted.
Octavia was born and educated near Estcourt and joined Ardmore’s studio in the ‘Berg in 2000, after being introduced to Ardmore by fellow artist and friend, Mbusi Mfuphi.
She started out as a painter before her intelligence and strength of character caught the eye of Fée Halsted, founder of Ardmore, and she was brought in to help with administrative work and sales.
Octavia left Ardmore to attend to family commitments, but in 2009 rejoined Ardmore Caversham. Today she is one of Ardmore’s leading painters.
A strong, responsible person, Octavia is a poet and a public speaker who is not afraid to speak her mind. She is known for her willingness to reach out a hand to help and teach others, and is an assertive leader.
She says: “Ardmore changed my life and enabled me to look after my four children properly. I am now able to do anything that I want to do, like building a house for my kids. Ardmore gave me direction and independence. I am proud of Ardmore, and Ardmore makes me proud of what I am doing with my work – being an artist and designing patterns.”
Octavia loves to paint, and chooses to work on more sculptural forms where she can painstakingly embellish the entire surface with intricate feathering and scales, reminiscent of traditional basket and bead work.
Octavia works in a true artistic synergy with the sculptors, so that form and painting become one. Her painting brings harmony and adds to the overall value of each piece. She often chooses to work on Victor Shabalala’s highly sculptured work.
In 2009, Octavia was selected to join the Ardmore Design Collection group of artists to help evolve a dinnerware design. She created a black and white monochrome design named ‘Ebony’, which resulted in the development of a completely new style for Ardmore – more sophisticated, less colourful – and extremely popular with buyers.
Her patterns were also chosen for the Qalakabusha Frogs eggs pattern launched in 2011 with Mavromac.
Octavia left Ardmore in 2012 as she had family responsibilities, but returned to the Caversham studio towards the end of 2014.
Amaridian GalleryUnited States
Exhibition at South Africa HouseLondon
Pascoe & CoUnited States
Ardmore Design Collection
‘Travellers of Africa’Johannesburg
‘Ivory& Ebony’Cape Town
KZN Regional Rhythms exhibitionDurban
‘Earth and Fire’United States
Le Negreso HotelFrance
NAADA (National Antiques and Decorative Arts) FaireJohannesburg
‘Sprung from the Reeds: Ardmore and Ukhamba’Ardmore Caversham
International Ceramic ShowUnited States
Les Ceramiques Zouloues ArdmoreFrance
Endangered Animals ExhibitionLondon
An African CollectionAustralia
Ardmore CarnivalCape Town
Patrick Mavros Christmas Safari WeekLondon
A celebration of Zulu Life and ArtistryUnited States
‘Birds of Africa’Zimbabwe
WMODA, Pascoe & Co.United States
‘Animal Botanical’Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town
‘Kalahari CatsCellars-Hohenot, Cape Town
‘The Great Zambezi’Patrick Mavros, London
'Celebrating the Year of the Monkey'Charles Greig, Hyde Park, Johannesburg
'The Great Zambezi'Cellars-Hohenot, Cape Town