Fee Halsted is a passionate, award-winning artist and academic from the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands, home to Ardmore – a hugely succesful ceramics company. Fee’s first ever student Bonnie Ntshalintshali, daughter of their housekeeper, whose polio meant that she couldn’t partake in any work in the fields. Fée and Bonnie quickly developed a synergy and under Fée’s mentorship, Bonnie’s natural skills as an artist blossomed.
Five years later, in 1990, Fée and Bonnie were jointly awarded the prestigious Standard Bank Young Artist Award, the first such artistic partnership to be recognised. With this success came the demands of creating ceramics for their exhibition, so Fée offered other local women the opportunity to train at Ardmore, producing pieces to generate income for the fledgling studio, which lead to be the thriving business it is now. Ardmore artworks, known for their quirky, colourful designs, feature in leading galleries and collections, including the Museum of Art & Design in New York, the Museum of Cultures in Basel, Switzerland, and the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The acclaimed auction house Christie’s has acknowledged Ardmore artworks as “modern day collectibles”. Fee was honoured with a doctorate from the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal in 2016. In December, 2016 Fee won the Mbokodo Award which recognizes women leaders who have contributed to the arts in South Africa and who have fostered growth.
My Definition Of Success | As a single woman being able to know I have a roof over my head and have created a lovely home for my children. Knowing that I can feed my family and educate them and lie in bed at night and say to myself I don’t owe a cent to anyone and I have helped others less fortunate, to learn a skill so that they can feed their family is special to me and I believe that can be called ‘success.’ My definition of success has remained the same as I think one must not want too much in life and at some stage you must be able to say this is enough and I am happy . I believe a balance is important.
My Highlights | Being awarded the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 1990 with Bonnie Ntshalintshali. In 2010 being one of 5 in the world to be awarded by the Woman’s Campaign International a award of honour in NY. In 2015 being awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of KZN extra mile .
The Characteristics Of Success | The characteristics are single mindedness , self belief , hard work ,dogged determination and passion. An ability to see a mistake and fix it or help fix it.
Principles I Live By | I think it is import to be honest and sincere and fair, also to be able to apologise and say you were wrong , never to give up , see a project to completion, have a conscious , try to always go the extra mile and look after your customers.
Critical Skills I Develop | The critical skills that have helped me become successful are the ability to teach, build confidence in people and make them believe they could reach high goals. I have always had the ability to think out the box.
Dealing With Doubt | The worst time in my life was when I left my husband in 2002. I was fearful I would not be able to make it alone with the responsibilities of all my business and my children to support. I did a lot of praying and handed my fears and worries to God . He taught me to have faith and to be still and not to panic .He told me to remain intelligent and not allow my emotions to get the better of my intelligence. When I did have self-doubt he told me to lead and not flounder . It is better to make a decision and lead people than dither and sit on the fence .There is no failure , it isn’t fatal. One of my favourite sayings is from Winston Churchill, ‘Success doesn’t last for ever but it is the courage to continue that counts’ – It is always important to have courage .
Performing At My Peak | Health is very important and surrounding yourself with positive like minded people is also important. I enjoy people who can laugh at themselves and I don’t do needy people who make friends because they are sucking your energy. I rather stay focused and live alone and wake up early and go to bed early . That way I can give all of myself to my artists and clients during the day and at 5 pm I can chill and rest without demands . I like to always be positive and don’t like negativity at all.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Travel keeps me inspired and young people keep me growing with their modern ideas and technology . I also enjoy bush trips as I love nature and the wild .I never stop learning from Nature .
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | My dream for the future is to have an educational centre here at Ardmore where I can train art skills and art history . I cannot be here forever and it is important that Ardmore continues when I am gone and those that can must give back to those who cannot .
The Best Advice I’ve Received | The best advice I have ever had was from an American lecturer . He said “break the rules.”