Ása Ketilsdóttir was born in 1935 at Ytra-Fjall in Aðaldalur, where she grew up surrounded with Icelandic poetry, verse and songs. In her youth she was constantly drawing on whatever paper was available. After primary education at a peripatetic school Ása spent 1950-51 at Stóru-Tjarnir School, where she was taught drawing by artist Aðalgeir Halldórsson. After studying briefly at the Iceland College of Arts of Crafts she entered the Women’s College at Laugar, graduating in 1958. She moved to the West Fjords, where she married Halldór Þórðarson and became a farmwife and mother.
Ása Ketilsdóttir has always had a love of poetry, and she has familiarised herself with the old Icelandic tradition of rímur, or rimes. In 2012 she published a volume of poetry. She has also been involved in projects regarding traditional verse, such as a CD, Raddir (Voices), issued in 1998. On the CD Vappaðu með mér Vala, issued in 2010, Ása chants, sings and tells stories. In 2011 a programme in honour of Ása was held Gerðuberg in Reykjavík, including her drawings, chanting of rimes, song and dance.