Cocking a snood at treasure designs

A new range of products inspired by the St Ninian’s Isle treasure is going on sale in the Shetland Museum and Archives shop.

The St Ninian’s Snood, designed and made by local student Angela Irvine, combines traditional fine lace knitting with contemporary fashion to produce a range of highly decorative lace and bead hats.

Angela, currently in the second year of a BA contemporary textiles course at Shetland College, designed the snood as part of a professional practice module, organised jointly by the college and Shetland Amenity Trust.

Tying in with the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the discovery of the treasure, the students were tasked with creating a product inspired by it which could be sold in the shop. When the students visited the museum to study the treasure, Angela was inspired by the bowls.

She said: “I was drawn to the bowls immediately and sketched and studied them. The colours and patterns were so sophisticated for their age, I wanted to take these and create something modern and ‘chic’ to reflect the skill it took to make this treasure which is so important to Shetland.”

The students also had the opportunity to study the museum’s extensive textiles collection, where Angela saw a traditional yoke jumper with beads knitted into the Fair Isle pattern, which inspired her to use beads in her design.

She said: “I had never seen a yolk pattern with beads knitted into it. The beads gave the Fair Isle a delicate look, which I thought would really suit my design. I learned to knit Shetland lace with beaded Fair Isle, as I wanted to take my design from paper to the final product. I am really happy with the result – a ‘chic’ modern hat that reflects the precious beauty of the bowls themselves.”

Originally the term “snood” was used to describe an ornamental hairnet. The Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli reinvented the design as a fashion item in the 1930s and Angela has now modernised this design with stretched lace, allowing it to be worn as a beret.

The snoods were created as part of the amenity trust’s ongoing retail product development project – the aim of which is to develop a range of quality products which are inspired by, reflect and celebrate the museum collections and Shetland’s heritage and culture.

Amenity trust general manager Jimmy Moncrieff said the snoods were a prime example of this type of product, and a fitting addition to the range of high quality local products already on offer in the shop.

He said: “We are always looking for innovative products linked to our heritage and culture, and encouraging local designers in the development of new products.

“Working with the college allows us to support local designers who are developing their craft and encourage them to utilise our heritage and culture to create contemporary and attractive products. Angela’s snood is a fantastic product and we are delighted to be selling it in the museum and archives shop.”


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