Tiger Fish Vase – designed by Thulani Mthungwa, painted by Sidney Nyabeze

Flocks of brightly coloured birds and an abundance of wildlife can be found around the Zambezi River.  And it’s this diversity of fauna and flora which has inspired Ardmore Ceramic Art’s The Great Zambezi exhibition, which will be staged at The Cellars – Hohenort.

Running through parts of Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe – birthplace of Ardmore founder, Fée Halsted – the river and its fauna and flora have been imaginatively realised in ceramics featuring hippos ridden by people, elephants and crocodiles which evoke memories of the stories of Rudyard Kipling and Rider Haggard, troops of vervet monkeys chattering in the forest canopy and Flame Lilies and Scadoxis flowers interacting with colourful Narina Trogans and Angolan Pita birds.

A new Zambezi Fabric Collection

For those interested in adding something special to their interior décor, Ardmore will also be showcasing the new Zambezi Fabric Collection. Colourful, sophisticated, sensual and deeply rooted in Africa, the collection offers five stunning designs to choose from:

  • Amasumpa, inspired by the small nodules on Zulu traditional pots, this range also features leopard print a favourite of Zulu royalty, who choose this big cat’s pelt to showcase their authority.
  • Monkey Bean, inspired by Africa’s beautiful coral trees, also known as Lucky Bean trees, which provide food and shelter for monkeys as well as a variety of birds, animals and insects. Lucky Bean trees are also buried on the graves of Zulu chiefs and are associated with magic in Zulu culture.
  • Bush Bandits, a design which uses Leopards and Black Backed back-to-back, a Jabu Nene flower in the middle to link the repeat and an organically imperial ribbon as a stripe.
  • River Chase, which combines crocodiles and Strelitzia, or Bird of Paradise, vines and banana palms. This fabric is a wonderful celebration of these ancient reptiles and the beautiful flora of the Zambezi basin.
  • Feather – The final design has been taken from the natural geometric patterns that occur on the wings of African birds. Evolved from the scales of reptiles, feathers set birds apart from all other animals and are necessary for flight, insulation and courtship displays.
Cole & Son Ardmore Leopard Walk, 109 – 2008

The new designs come in various colour ways, including Night, Swamp, Stone, Flamingo, Parakeet, Guinea Fowl, Night, Flame, Camp Fire, Royal Butter, Dust, Dusk, Driftwood, Ash and Silver.

“2016 was a hectic but exciting year for me and my family,” says Ardmore founder, Fée Halsted. “It has been filled with highs and lows. In January the French luxury brand, Hermes launched my daughter Catherine’s designs, Le Marche de Zambeze and Savanna Dance on silk scarves. The world responded with excitement and enthusiasm, so we set about creating a new fabric range, The Zambezi. Having never worked at creating fabric alone, it has been a challenging experience with lots of frustration but, more importantly, it has been so much fun.”

The Cellars will also host the first view of a new range of wallpaper from the British-based company, Cole & Son. The company has collaborated with Ardmore to create the colourful range. “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 fabulous Ardmore stories onto wallpaper,” said Cole & Son creative director, Shauna Dennison.

Halsted adds “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! “

To coincide with The Great Zambezi Exhibition there will be a preview lunch for invited guests and an opening evening function. On 17 – 19 February there will be talks conducted by Fée Halsted.

What: Ardmore Ceramic Art’s The Great Zambezi exhibition
Where: The Cellars – Hohenort, Cape Town
When: 17 – 19 Feb, 2017
Info: www.ardmoreceramics.co.za or Clint Pavkovich clint@ardmoreceramics.co.za
Cellars – Hohenort: http://www.collectionmcgrath.com/hotels/the-cellars-hohenort