Ngala Trading Co. and Ardmore Designs Team Up For a Cause
At the start of the pandemic, Ngala Trading Co., an African wholesaler and retailer of lighting, furniture and décor located in Suite 412 in the New York Design Center, and one of their South African brand partners, Ardmore, teamed up to make and sell one-of-a-kind face masks for a good cause.
Click above image to see all masks
With both brands concerned about the effect of COVID-19 in South Africa, they teamed up to form the Ardmore Mask initiative supportingMidlands Food Bank, a community food bank close to Ardmore Studio in Kwzulu-Natal, South Africa. The food bank was quickly established in April 2020 to help families during the COVID-19 crisis in the KZN Midlands of South Africa. For every mask sold, three meals are donated to Midlands Food Bank.
The masks are made of 100% cotton and are manufactured by Ardmore locally in Johannesburg, South Africa. Protect yourself in style by wearing a beautifully designed high-fashion mask, available in a variety of patterns.
To-date, the Ardmore Mask initiative has sold thousands of masks, allowing the two brands to donate over 11,200 meals to the Midlands Food Bank. Ngala Trading Co. is continuing to sell masks online ($29/each) through 2021. Visit ngalatrading.com/facemasks to learn more or purchase a mask today.
Ardmore’s story began with one woman’s journey from her birthplace in Bulawayo, modern-day Zimbabwe to KwaZulu Natal in South Africa. Not only did Fée Halsted acquire unique skills as a ceramicist, but she also discovered that she had an aptitude for finding and nurturing talent in others. The name Ardmore comes from the first farm that Fée lived on, in the Champagne Valley of KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg.
Fée’s first student was Bonnie Ntshalintshali, the daughter of a farm employee. Bonnie had survived polio as a child – a condition that had left her too weak to undertake physical farm work, but which had done nothing to stunt her imagination or artistic talent. Bonnie’s natural aptitude for ceramic art soon encouraged other members of her family to ask Fée to teach them the secrets of the studio. These farmworkers – people with a deeply rooted sense of place, and a real affinity for the landscapes and creatures of Africa – became the nucleus of South Africa’s largest and most renowned ceramics studio.
Bonnie and Fée ran the studio more as partners than as an artist and her apprentice. After her life was tragically cut short, Fée established the Bonnie Ntshalintshali Museum in her memory – the first museum in South Africa to bear the name of a black female artist. Fée has been described as ‘a creator of artists’, and she ranks her success in empowering local artisans to share their unique takes on nature, Zulu folklore and traditions as her greatest achievement.
Under Fée’s tuition, a talented group of sculptors and painters has emerged, and coalesced around a fusion of Western ceramic techniques, the wonderful Zulu sense of color and rhythm and their gift for design and balance. Today, Ardmore gives local artists the opportunity to create artworks based on meanings within the context of their culture, which have become much sought-after modern collectibles. Learn more at ardmore-design.com.
About Midlands Food Bank
The Midlands Food Bank is a Community initiative located in the KZN Midlands of South Africa founded in April 2020 during the COVID-19 19 crisis. The Midlands Food Bank believes by uplifting and supporting local communities in need, it will enrich the community to further the sustainability of farmers and businesses in the Midlands area. The Midlands Food Bank Mission is to feed as many families as possible in the immediate Midlands area. The organization was established by a group of local farmers and businesspeople, totaling a committee of 5 members.
The Midlands Food Bank is reaching out to local businesses and farmers as well as requesting international funding for monthly food donations and financial assistance to continue the initiative and feed a growing number of households per month. To learn more, or make a donation today, visit midlandsfoodbank.com.