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Jen Delyth

Celtic Art Studio

Official Site of Welsh Artist

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BIOGRAPHY jen delyth

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The Celtic tradition has its own ancient roots back into the cultures of the Neolithic and Paleolithic peoples who came before them. It continues to evolve and is - most important to many working today - a Living Tradition.

Artist Jen Delyth is part of this living tradition. She creates original Celtic paintings and illustrations which explore the language of myth and symbol inspired by Celtic folklore and the spirit within nature. Her work is informed by the folk motifs and symbols of the ancient Celts, but woven through her experience and vision as a woman of the twenty-first century.

Born in the Welsh borderlands of the Wye valley, and raised in the industrial heartlands of south Wales, in Port Talbot, and Penllergaer a small village on the edge of the Gower Penninsula, Jen Delyth was surrounded by landscapes that have inspired poets and artists throughout the ages. Her childhood was spent exploring the lovely Welsh hills and stunning coastal beaches and coves with her family. This early connection to the natural world has played an integral role in her development as an artist.
Jen recalls “I was fortunate that we explored many wonderful ancient places, full of history and resonance that inspired and formed me as I was growing up. It often seemed as though the land itself was haunted by the long-ago people, and I could sense the mythic quality of things even as a young child. We briefly lived in the small village of Colerne, up in the hills around the ancient Roman city of Bath. From our house we could see the chalk carvings of both the Cherhill and the Westbury White Horse figures on the hillside across the valley, and there was a natural Spring in the woods at the bottom of our garden that had once been known for its healing properties ”

Her first introduction to Celtic mythology was through her mother Mair Jones, who shared the Welsh folk songs and traditions that she had learned as a child, when she was closely connected with the Urdd, the Youth movement that continues to promote Welsh language and culture today. Her father Fred Clough was passionate about literature and journalism as a young man, although he later focused on his interest in psychology. He encouraged Jen to write, and to travel — to learn from experience in addition to developing craft and technique.
“For me it is the creativity and rhythm, the power of the symbols beneath the work that are most important.”
Delyth studied philosophy at Southampton University before embarking on a lifelong self-education in art.
“Even though I had dedicated many years to intensive academic study, I felt a tremendous urge to express what I was seeing and learning through a more visual medium”.
She began her exploration of the world through art in 1984, when she moved to the island of Korcula, near Split, Croatia, where she was living with underwater photographer and diver Neno Babic. There she set up a darkroom in the corner of an old shed and began photographing the local landscapes and people. She returned to London a year later and began doing freelance photography for London Alternative Magazine. As a freelance photographer, she traveled to Crete, Egypt and Jerusalem. It was on her last stop that she met jazz musician Scott Silverberg, and the two of them settled in San Francisco. She founded Dryad Graphics in 1987 designing original Celtic art illustrations, and becoming one of the first people to create Celtic patterns using the new computer technology.
Today Jen and her partner Chris Chandler, a poet and spoken word performer (www.chrischandler.org) live in the Bay Area and run Ninth Wave Publishing LLC, and their online store Celtic Art Studio, designing, touring and enjoying their creative partnership.
“We felt very much like we were on the cutting edge,” Delyth recalls, “bringing the language of the ancients into the modern times.”
In 1998, Delyth began a personal study of painting after she met respected Welsh artist John Uzzell Edwards at Swansea University during an art show where each of their works were featured. She was struck by Edwards’ style,
“he had these amazing paintings of miners and local people - the dark rhythms and energy of the Celtic form, but in a fine art modernist expression.”
It was through Edwards’ encouragement that Delyth decided to take up painting and after a brief period of working with oils, she moved on to working with natural pigments. She now paints with egg tempera - a medium that dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians. Delyth has been working with natural pigments, process.

Continuing to combine traditional techniques with contemporary digital mediums, and drawing from ancient metaphors while integrating the visual motifs and language of Celtic patterning into original new designs,
Jen Delyth finds the symmetry of form and symbol that expresses living archetypes. Her work is stylistically contemporary, iconographic, reflecting spiritual and philosophical roots which embody universal themes that reflect her love of nature and Celtic symbolism.
Jen Delyth’s original Celtic artwork has been widely published and exhibited in North America, back in her native Wales and around Europe. Her work has graced the covers of several books including Celtic Way of Seeing by Frank MacEowen and Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend by Miranda Green. Delyth was also a featured artist in David James’ Celtic Crafts: The Living Tradition and New Visions in Celtic Art. The series of animated films she created for the interactive DVD “Beyond the Ninth Wave” has premiered at music events and workshops, and on television.

Her work has been featured in magazines, music and theatre productions, and in festivals and museums across the country. She illustrated the best selling “Celtic Mandala” calendar, journals and greeting cards for Amber Lotus Publishing, and established a successful business - Keltic Designs with Scott, that showcases her textiles, prints and paintings which have been exhibited with solo and group shows internationally.
“Although I am not affiliated with any particular branch of Celtic spirituality, my work often focuses on an expression of my deep love and respect of nature and all its Mystery. The Celtic tradition expresses a wealth of wisdom and understanding of the natural world - of plants and animals, and also the inner world of active imagination and our psyche. Working with the patterns, sacred images and myths of the ancient Celts renews my connection between the past and the present, the inside and outside, the seen and the unseen. Life in all its Mystery and interconnectedness, through art and story”
She describes her latest project, her full color coffee table book, Celtic Folk Soul - art, myth and symbol, as:
“A collection of my artwork and designs, with essays and poetry which illustrate the philosophy and folklore behind them. The language of Celtic Art explored through myth and symbol. This book is a celebration of the creative energy within the Celtic culture, and how this relates to the spiritual aspects of nature that lies at the heart of the tradition. Its been an amazing challenge actually, to put into words the ideas andphilosophy I have developed over the years, and also to see my visual work collected into one place, a kind of retrospective of the last 20 years.”

Jen is a founding member of American Celtic - and art group of contemporary Celtic Artists that exhibits in the US. www.contemporaryamericanceltic.org







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updated: 4 years ago