Fée was born in 1958 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. In the early 70s she travelled south to study at Natal University, Pitermaritzburg for a BA Fine Arts degree. This was followed by a two-year postgraduate course in ceramics. She then lectured for a short time at the Durban Technikon but soon found herself married and living on the farm Ardmore in the Champagne Valley of the KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, with her husband, James, in 1985.
Fée’s first student was Bonnie Ntshalintshali, the daughter of a farm employee. Bonnie’s natural aptitude for ceramic art soon attracted other members of Bonnie’s family who asked if they too could learn from Fèe. This led to the creation of Ardmore, the largest ceramic art studio in South Africa. Bonnie became known as one of South Africa’s leading ceramic artists, while Ardmore’s exciting diversity of ceramic art has been endorsed by Christie’s, London as ‘modern collectables’.
Fée’s merging of western ceramics technology with African art is only part of the story of Ardmore. Of even more significance has been her encouragement of their imagination based on nature, Zulu folklore and tradition. Fée has been described as ‘a creator of artists.’ As well as giving so much of her artistic ability to her creative team, Fée has won numerous art awards, including the Standard Bank young Artist’s Award which she jointly in 1990 with Bonnie Ntshalintshali. She was awarded the Women’s Campaign international for empowering women and was one of five people honoured at the Metropolitan club in New York in 2010.
The large group of sculptors and painters who produce ceramics under the Ardmore label amply demonstrate the diversity of talents that has emerged under Fée’s tuition. As she says:
‘The Zulu people have a wonderful sense of colour and rhythm and a gift for design and balance, all they needed was opportunity.’