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South African Ceramics

There has been a long, tradition of indigenous ceramic production in Southern Africa, but it has only been in the last couple of decades that South African ceramics have developed a new vitality.

Click Here to view what Ceramics we have in our current catalogue.

Up to the 1980s utilitarian 'hairy brown stoneware', as Malcolm MacIntyre- Read of the University of Natal Art Department described it, was the order of the day.
The conventions surrounding pottery were broken and clay took on an innovative role as the medium of expression for numerous art forms. In addition, the boundaries that had confined ceramics to the craft arena were broken and local ceramics were 'let into' the art galleries and museums of the country.
It is as a result of this local innovative and energetic trend that there has been an increased interest in ceramics and it is not surprising, therefore, that there has developed a solid group of South African ceramic collectors.
The interest in antecedents of this tradition has focused back on innovative efforts of the past and one of these was the Ceramic Studio established at Olifantsfontein in 1926. Sir Thomas Cullinan had made an earlier attempt to establish South Africa domestic ware in the local market between 1909 and 1914, but this had failed in the face of a preference for the cheaper imports.
To boost the second attempt three artists, Marjorie Johnstone, Joan Methley and Gladys Short designed and created the distinctive style and glazes, which became known as Linnware.
The Ceramic Studio produced an interesting series of tile pictures for local post offices through out the country, but by-and-large their product remained with the convention of ceramic domestic ware.
The vitality of contemporary South African ceramic is epitomized by the wide selection of innovative, decorative pieces from Ardmore Ceramic Art Studio.
These fusion pieces of art rejuvenate the conventional domestic, utilitarian pieces associated with European domestic china, into wonderful, exuberant expressions and declarations of their origin on the African continent.
Ardmore Ceramics is produced at two locations in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands by a group of 50 artists, mainly women of Zulu origin. The founder of the Studio and inspiration behind the project is Fee Halsted-Berning. The work produced at Ardmore has become highly sought after following the Standard Bank award to Bonnie Ntshalintshali and Halsted-Berning in 1990 - the first and only ceramic artists to receive this accolade and recognition.

Click Here to view what Ceramics we have in our current catalogue.

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