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Article published 09/02/2023

Two Shetland arts and craft businesses have been awarded 4-star Quality Assurance (QA) status.

Glansin Glass was awarded its Visitor Attraction/Activity Provider QA award, and Sarah Kay Arts achieved its Tourist Shop award. Both achieved four stars at their first ever grading visit.

Located on Unst, the most northerly island in the UK, Glansin Glass is a fused glass business. Although operating for a number of years, owner Cheryl Jamieson created a newly-built visitor centre incorporating a studio, shop and toilets, which was completed during lockdown.

Glass artist Cheryl promotes Unst and other Shetland islands through her designs and uses reclaimed items from local beaches in her work. She designs and makes unique glassware including jewellery, tableware and art pieces and runs glass craft workshops for all ages.

Sarah Kay being presented her award

Sarah Kay being presented her four star QA award

I was absolutely delighted to be awarded four stars for the Glansin Glass Visitor Centre. We’ve worked hard to make it a great place for folk to visit, so it’s wonderful for this to be recognised.

Customers can view my glassware, learn more about how it’s made, and then have a go making something themselves. The classes have been extremely popular and it’s amazing to see all the happy faces with their beautiful creations.

Glansin Glass owner, Cheryl Jamieson

Based in Scalloway, Sarah Kay also gathers a lot of her material from Shetland beaches. She recycles these items and creates a range of jewellery, artwork and crafts inspired by the islands and the aurora borealis – or mirrie dancers - for which Shetland is renowned. Sarah also has a garden that visitors and customers can visit, created using items gathered from beaches and upcycled.

Items from both Glansin Glass and Sarah Kay Arts are stocked in Lerwick iCentre, as part of our Shop Local retail initiative. Shop Local provides a unique platform for local businesses, craft makers, artists, designers and other artisans to promote and sell their products to visitors via the VisitScotland iCentre network.

I was delighted to be awarded four stars for my first year with VisitScotland - it was a great surprise. Getting the award gave me a boost in confidence for having visitors come to my studio. The advice and positive feedback from VisitScotland has me looking forward to 2023 with extra vigour.

My studio is located in the most stunning setting, overlooking Scalloway Castle and islands beyond. Part of the visit includes my hillside garden, full of plants to explore.

Sarah Kay Arts owner, Sarah Kay

I’d like to congratulate both Cheryl and Sarah for achieving these awards following an extremely challenging couple of years for businesses. Now more than ever, we need to think bigger about Scotland – and Shetland - as a tourism destination. Delivering a quality experience that meets, and exceeds, visitor expectations is crucial, instilling pride in our businesses and in making this a must-visit, must-return destination.   

Quality Assurance can help us drive up standards across the industry, raising the bar. Our Stars represent world-class excellence, helping businesses shine, enabling visitors to make informed choices and driving investment in quality.8

Steve Mathieson, VisitScotland’s Development Manager for Shetland

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