The tiny island of Iona has captured the imagination of pilgrims for centuries from the early hermetic monks of the 6th century to modern day travellers seeking peace, beauty and solitude. Over the centuries Iona has been home to and has inspired poets, musicians, craftsmen and women, writers, artists and theologians. Its landscape speaks of angelic visions and ancient burial grounds, a hermitage of the sea and a place of reflection and revival.
Iona is home to a thriving population and we are a lively mix of old island names amongst more recent arrivals, who landed and never found a good enough reason to leave this geographical edge of Scotland.
Aosdàna, from the Gaelic word, aos-dàna is a collective term for the bards of old whose role was to record the histories and genealogies of the land, through poetry and music. Aosdàna echoes this definition by continuing the work of historical Iona jewellery designers Alex & Euphemia Ritchie and more recently, Iain MacCormick who in their own way reflected the history and culture of Iona through their craft.
Aosdàna began its story in 1996, when Iain MacCormick gifted his designs and knowledge of the complex patterns to his young relative, Mhairi Killin. Mhairi established Aosdàna in 2003, continuing a tradition of over 100 years on the island.
Our traditional jewellery is created from these original designs by the Ritchies and by Iain MacCormick, who were inspired by the rich cultural landscape that surrounded them. The history of St. Columba and early Celtic Christianity, the Book of Kells and the intricately carved medieval stones of Iona Cathedral and Nunnery are all echoed in the patterns and forms of their unique pieces.
Whilst acknowledging this wonderful work, Aosdàna also seeks to reflect the present cultural and physical landscape of Iona through our contemporary collections. Here you will find a trace of the past echoing through our modern designs, created using a combination of traditional bench skills and new technology.
Aosdàna is housed in a beautifully restored farm steading on the road to Iona Cathedral and we are open to the public from April to October. We look forward to welcoming you to Iona and talking to you more about our jewellery.