Jen Delyth

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Jen Delyth (born 1962), Welsh-born artist and author, is a contemporary Celtic Art illustrator and author who has contributed to the Celtic folk tradition with her original Celtic art and designs[1][2][3] based on Celtic mythology and symbolism.

"You may already be familiar with the artwork of Welsh artist Jen Delyth, who has done more than any others (aside from England's Courtney Davis and original Celtic art revivalist George Bain) to bring the ancient interlace designs, spirals, patterns and imagery of the Celts to modern awareness. As it turns out, Delyth is also an excellent writer and is well steeped in Celtic folk-lore, mythology and mysticism. Her stunning artwork and words vividly express the beauty, power and spirit of nature, as seen from the perspective of Celtic tradition. - Dirty Linen Magazine Book Review July 2008 [4]

The Celtic Tree of Life[edit]

Delyth is the creator of a contemporary Celtic Tree of Life design[5] that has become a popular Celtic folk-art symbol.[6][7] Delyth created the Celtic Tree of Life in early 1990.[8] This contemporary design - not found in antiquity - describes in the language of Celtic Art patterning, the symbolism of the Tree of LIfe, representing (the artist's interpretation of) the interconnection of all things.[9]

The symbolism of the Celtic Tree vividly comes to life in (this) design by Celtic artist, Jen Delyth. Their branches reach high into the heavens. Their roots dig deep into the Earth. Yet all are woven together, signifying the connection between all things in the Heavens and the Earth.[10]

The Celtic Tree of Life, as interpreted (here) by Welsh artist Jen Delyth, shows a concept of the cosmos in which the universe is in the form of a tree whose roots and branches join. religioustolerance.org[11]

Although often misinterpreted as an ancient symbol,[12] the Celtic Tree of Life is perhaps Delyth's most notable contribution to contemporary Celtic Art.

Many of Jen Delyth's patterns, like her trademark Tree of Life, have such an iconic resonance that they seem instantly familiar. They are the visual equivalent of a folk song, drawing from us some connection with a mythic marvelous past. Although her work is original and of our time, many have erroneously come to believe they are of ancient origin, so strongly do they resonate with the timeless quality we associate with our Celtic forbears.

Pat Fish, Celtic artist - 2004, Santa Barbara [9]

Although most Celtic art today is based on ancient sources, there are some contemporary Celtic artists who consider the Celtic arts culture a living tradition[13]- creating new works, rather than simply reproducing the traditional motifs. Working within a folk-art genre with ancient roots, has created some complications and misconceptions for their new designs - that are not actually available in the public domain. In the ongoing challenge to protect her own work - especially her popular Tree image - from misuse, Delyth has also been an instrumental advocate for the rights of modern-day Celtic artists, participating in campaigns to promote and protect copyright from infringement, and educate the public on proper uses.[14]

Published works[edit]

Published works include Books,[15] Book Cover and magazine illustrations,[16] Music and Theatre Illustration [17] and the popular Celtic Mandalas Calendar, Journals and Greeting Cards.[18] Also featured as invited guest on television,[19] festivals include [20] and events across the country. Jen’s prints and paintings have been exhibited with solo and group shows internationally,[21] including with the Contemporary American Celtic art group,[22] of which Delyth is a founding member, touring the States during 2000 and 2007. Delyth also established her business Keltic Designs which showcases her original designs on everything from Fine Art Prints and textiles to heirloom tapestries.[23]

Collaborations[edit]

Celtic Folk Soul - Art, Myth and Symbol illustrated and written by Jen Delyth contains examples of ancient and contemporary poetry.[24] With a foreword by Scottish musician and author Robin Williamson[25]


Beyond the Ninth Wave Celtic art and animation, with spoken word by founder/Poet Gilli Smyth[26] was published by Ninth Wave Productions in 2000. Also featuring music by Michael Masley,[27] Silver Arm, and Aryeh Frankfurter. Ninth Wave film has been featured with Irish Band Kila in San Francisco 2001, Trillian Green, and Woodland at Faerieworlds in Veneta, OR.[28]

Illustrations[edit]

1991 Surfinary: A Dictionary of Surfing Terms and Surfspeak, Trevor Cralle, Ten Speed Press. Illustration (ISBN 0-89815-422-7)

1992 Dictionary of Celtic Myth and Legend, Miranda Green, Thames & Hudson, Frontispiece & Illustration (ISBN 0-500-27975-6)

1992 Animals in Celtic Life and Myth, Miranda Green, Routlege (ISBN 0-415-05030-8)

1993 Celtic Myths, Miranda Green, British Museum Press (ISBN 0-7141-2091-X)

1995 Sacred Symbols: The Celts", Thames & Hudson, Illustration (ISBN 0-500-06014-2)

1997 Celtic Crafts: The Living Tradition, David James, Blandford Press, Featured Artist, Illustration & Article (ISBN 0-7137-2663-6)

1997 Parabola: Myth, Tradition and the Search for Meaning Illustrations

1999 New Visions in Celtic Art: The Modern Tradition, David James, Blandford Press, Featured Artist, Illustrations & Text (ISBN 0-7137-2736-5)

2000 Celtic Journey, EarthTone Records, CD Cover and Artwork (ASIN: B00004RCUO)

2000 Beyond the Ninth Wave, Ninth Wave Productions, Artwork, Animation, Audio, Production (ASIN: B000FSY94A)

2002 Mandala Journey to the Center, Bailey Cunningham, DK Publications, Chapter Frontispiece (ISBN 0-7894-9740-9)

2002 Renaissance Magazine, Vol. 5, #3, Issue 19, Featured Artist

2002 Ravens, Mad Mama Moon, CD Cover and Interior Artwork

2005 Riddle on the Mountain, Daryl Burkhead, Dog Earred Press, Concept & Design Inspiration (ISBN 0-9668289-5-X)

2005 Theatr ná nóg, a touring, Welsh production of Melangell - Theatre Poster Design

2006 Celtic Way of Seeing: Meditations on the Irish Spirit Wheel, Frank MacEowen, New World Library, Cover Illustration (ISBN 1-57731-541-3)

2007 The Four Branches of the Mabinogi: Celtic Myth and Medieval Reality, Will Parker, Bardic Press, Cover and Inside Illustration (ISBN 0-9745667-5-6)

2008 Celtic Folk Soul - Art, Myth & Symbol: Amber Lotus Publishing, Cover, internal Illustrations, Text, Design (ISBN 1-60237-116-4)

2008 Originally Blessed - 25th Anniversary of Matthew Fox's Original Blessing:Creation Spirituality Communities Creation Spirituality, Illustration and Text

2000 - 2008 Celtic Mandala Calendars, Journals & Datebooks: Amber Lotus Publishing, artwork, design and text (ISBN 1-56937-759-6) (ISBN 1-885394-58-6), (ISBN 1-60237-057-5), (ISBN 1-60237-113-X), (ISBN 1-56937-693-X)

Exhibitions[edit]

1991 International Celtic Conference, Swansea University, UK

1994, 1996 Herbst Theatre Gallery, San Francisco, CA

1997 60th Street Gallery Group Show, Oakland, CA

2000 American Celtic Art Exhibition,[29] Milwaukie, WI

2001 American Celtic Art Exhibition,[30] Cincinnati, OH & Chicago, IL

2002 Earth Gallery, Solo Art Show, Garberville, CA - Jen Delyth Art and Animation

2006 Bridging Heaven & Earth Group Show, [10] Santa Barbara, CA.

2006 Bridging Heaven & Earth, [11] television broadcast - Animation and Artwork

2005-2007 Faerieworlds Festival, Featured Artist - Main stage screening of Beyond Ninth Wave animation & artwork.

2006 Madden Arts Center, [12] Group Show, Decatur, IL - Contemporary American Celtic[31]

2007 Irish American Heritage Center, [13] Group Show, Chicago, IL - Contemporary American Celtic [32]

2008 Talisman Gallery, [14] Portland, Oregon - Solo show, Giclee prints and original paintings. Screening of Celtic Art video, Book Signing

2008 Kathleens's of Dublin, Portland, Oregon - Art Show, Screening of Ninth Wave animation video, Book Signing

2008 Field's Books [33] San Francisco - Book Reading, Showing of Fine Art Prints, Book signing

2008 Faerieworlds Festival, Eugene, Oregon Featured Artist

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Welsh artist and author Jen Delyth is one of the most highly respected contemporary Celtic artists in the world". FaerieCon featured artist review Oct 2008 [1]
  2. ^

    "Jen’s artwork has been admired by Celtic enthusiasts worldwide for many years."
    David James, author of New Visions in Celtic Art: The Modern Tradition Blandford Press 1999 (ISBN 0-7137-2736-5)

  3. ^ More reviews of Jen Delyth's work by well-known authors and writers in the Celtic Field are available at http://www.kelticdesigns.com/CELTICFOLKSOUL/CelticFolkSoulReviews.html
  4. ^ http://www.dirtylinen.com
  5. ^ Example of Jen's copyright "Celtic Tree of Life"
  6. ^ http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=celtic+tree+of+life&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
  7. ^ example shown here
  8. ^ Jen Delyth created the original "Celtic Tree of Life" design in 1990, which is registered with Library of Congress April 26th, 1993: VA 560-995
  9. ^

    The Celtic Tree of Life. This image (by Welsh artist Jen Delyth) symbolizes my philosophy/project. It captures so many concepts: dialectic, recursion, spanning layer, e pluribus unum (from diversity unity), symbiosis and speciation, asymmetry, complexity (braiding). - Nick Gall [2]

  10. ^ (Retrieved on 2008-08-14)
  11. ^ (Retrieved on 2008-08-14)
  12. ^ Jen Delyth's "Celtic Tree of Life" is not based on any Celtic design in antiquity. Although often mistaken as an ancient design, there are no closely related "Celtic Tree" images found in Iron Age, Bronze Age, or early Celtic Christian manuscripts such as the Book of Kells, or Book of Lindisfarne. Trees and Plants are of central importance within the mysticism and religion of the Celts, and we see many examples in Celtic antiquities of simple stylized abstractions of magical plant motifs, intertwining vine patterns - often described emerging from a pot, and sometimes accompanied by symbolic Birds - as abstract patterns example of traditional Celtic "tree of life" pattern. However, there are no actual literal depictions of tree images to be found in historical sources of Celtic Art (possibly due to religious taboo which may have restricted the copying of nature too directly).

    Typically, Celtic art is ornamental, avoiding straight lines and only occasionally using symmetry, without the imitation of nature central to the classical tradition, but as far as we can understand it often involves complex symbolism. Celtic art has used a variety of styles and has shown influences from other cultures. Quote from Wikipedia Celtic Art

    (Bibliography reference: Lloyd and Jennifer Laing The Art of the Celts, 1992 Thames and Hudson. J. Allen Romilly Celtic Art in Pagan and Christian Times. London: Methuan & Co 1904. Ruth & Vincent Megaw Celtic art: From its Beginnings to the Book of Kells London, Thames & Hudson 1989
  13. ^ When a creative modern imagination invents meaning for an ancient design, the scholar will predictably scoff. Celtic Art by its nature is a link with the distant past. If we continue to insist on always reaching back 1,200 years to the Book of Kells for our perspective on Celtic Art we ignore the traditions that authenticate the claim that Celtic Art is a living tradition. The Celtic Revival began 150 years ago and in this time the creative use of Celtic design has evolved along with the myth that there is a timeless consistency of what Celtic Art is all about.Stephen Walker - Writer/Founder/Moderator celtic art online forum
  14. ^ Walker copyright article For Celtic artists it is an ongoing struggle to establish the perception of their work as new rather than traditional. Copyright of these contemporary works, is often difficult to maintain. Education is important. Keltic Designs copyright page
  15. ^ Celtic Folk Soul - art, myth & symbol. Check "illustrations" for details of other projects
  16. ^ check "Illustrations" for details
  17. ^ Theatre Tir Na Nog, 2005
  18. ^ published by Amber Lotus Publishing, Portland Oregon
  19. ^ Bridging Heaven & Earth - Santa Barbara CA
  20. ^ Faerieworlds Eugene Oregon, years 2002-2007, EarthDance 2004
  21. ^ 1991 International Celtic Conference, Swansea University, UK: 1994, 1996- Herbst Theatre Gallery, San Francisco, CA: 1997- 60th Street Gallery Group Show, Oakland, CA: 2000-American Celtic Art Exhibition, Milwaukie, WI: 2001-American Celtic Art Exhibition, Cincinnati, OH & Chicago, IL: 2002-Earth Gallery Solo Show, Garberville, CA. 2006-Madden Arts Center Group Show, Decatur, IL. 2007-Irish American Heritage Center Group Show, Chicago, IL
  22. ^ [3] Feb 1 2007 Herald & Review Byline: Alicia Spates Feb. 1

    --Traditional Celtic art takes on a modern American perspective as the Decatur Area Arts Council hosts the art exhibit Contemporary American Celtic. It can be seen all month at the Anne Lloyd Gallery in Madden Arts Center. ..."Contemporary American Celtic" is the name of the five-member group presenting the artwork, which highlights some of the foremost illuminators of 21st century Celtic art. Paintings and woodwork by Matyi, Kerin, Steve O'Lough;lin, Jen Delyth and Patrick Gallagher...

  23. ^ Keltic Designs Inc, San Francisco, CA
  24. ^ Poets included Robert Graves, John and Caitlin Matthews, Robin Williamson, Welsh Poets Dylan Thomas, RS Thomas, Gwyneth Lewis and Ruth Bidgood
  25. ^ Robin Williamson is the founder musician of the The Incredible String Band
  26. ^ Gilli Smyth is founder member and "Space whisper" Poet of the 70's progressive/psychedelic band Gong
  27. ^ Michael Masley is known for his musical work on the Hungarian cymbalom.
  28. ^ at Faerieworlds festivals 2002-2007.
  29. ^ [4]
  30. ^ [5]
  31. ^ [6]
  32. ^ [7]
  33. ^ [8]

External links[edit]