The UK’s most beloved artist is sought after the world over for her depictions of stories cherished for generations: Peter Pan, the Wizard of Oz, The Magic Faraway Tree and Alice in Wonderland. However, another collection prized by Kerry collectors is perhaps here most personal: her own mythical world – Nature's Faeries.
This enchanted collection follows the secret lives of Faerie folk… Their customs, their places of significance, their rituals and most importantly – their mischief! Partially based in Celtic folklore and partially from Kerry’s own limitless imagination.
The signature works of the 'Nature's Faeries' series were two releases in 2015 and 2018 Celtic Twilight and Faerie Glen. Two legendary Unique Editions – the former depicting the dark, evocative world of the nocturnal changelings: the latter revealing the faerie folk by day…
Faerie Glen – A Real Life Otherworld location
In a canyon formed by the River Conwy: the Faerie Glen is a breathtaking secluded world of rushing waterfalls and gigantic boulders.
Kerry has long been inspired by the Celtic Folklore born from the Welsh landscape. Leaving the confines of the studio and her home-town of Prestatyn allows her mind to literally wander as she draws ideas from the formations, scenery, local legends and stories that wind their way through the land like seams of ore.
Folklore and Faerie-Tale were often born from people making sense of the world around them before the inexorable march of science solved (so we think!) many of natures mysteries. Indeed many myths were born from cautionary tales....
...Little Red Riding Hood is an obvious example and even the Old-English myth of the Green Man may in fact be a warning of outlaws peering out through the trees... Kerry has never shied away from the darker themes of folk-tales and even her previous 'Nature's Faeries' works have incorporated more sinister motifs such as dark-faeries and changelings; whereby human children are spirited away to join the spirit-folk...
In the case of Faerie Glen however, these darker elements are eschewed in favour of a far more innocent, upbeat tone; celebrating the freedom, innocence and wonder of the childlike 'Otherworld'. In fact these faeries are perhaps the most approachable in her oeuvre - wearing rather fetching human style outfits and engaging in simple pleasures: pets, hairstyles, yo-yoing, music, dance, laundry and daydreaming.
The Legendary Classic
By contrast, Celtic Twilight presents a less corporeal, more astral plane ofexistence... Where the inhabitants of Faerie Glen are very earthy, almost human figures: thedenizens of Celtic Twilight are more supernatural, archetypal figures (note a character who may of may not be the God Pan on the upper-left branch).
As Kerry herself says:
"There are many different types of faerie. Some are real tricksters, these are the least likely to be seen by the human eye as they will shapeshift and make mischief with the human folk. Others just want to dance and sing and play games. Sometimes you can just about make out their aura, although they can change their bodies to be either seen or unseen at will."
Along with the celestial aerial figures in their halos of light; Celtic Twilight also features an 'underworld' of sorts with its network of tunnels and subterranean creatures: ranging from rabbits and mice to gnomes and troglodytes. This gives the work a ying-yang quality with its themes of the symbiosis between earth and sky, underworld and air.
"If upon hearing the faerie-song you are foolish enough to wander near these trees, you may trip up, have your belongings hidden or find yourself pinched by little faerie fingers."
One of Kerry Darlington's most sought-after Unique Editions: this work provides a visual and thematic counterpoint to Faerie Glen...