Meet Kerstie Barr, who is Craft Scotland's PA/Office Coordinator.
I joined Craft Scotland to support the work of the whole team, but especially our director. As well as working in a PA capacity for Fiona my role is to coordinate the smooth running of the office and handle all our administrative needs.
I’m a first point of contact for anyone approaching Craft Scotland, so I hope I can help makers find answers to questions. More importantly though, if I’m keeping the administrative ship afloat then the rest of the team can devote even more time and energy to delivering excellent projects and promoting the abundance of great craft work in Scotland.
1. Completing a PGDE in Primary Education at the University of Edinburgh.
2. My first ever, front page, exclusive byline on a published newspaper article. The story was about an invasion of giant hogweed.
3. Researching the history and culture of tattooing in Edinburgh for my literary hero John Irving. After I helped run an event as part of his book tour, John asked me to help him find information for his next novel. Seeing my name listed in the acknowledgements of ‘Until I Find You’ was a real highlight.
1. When I got married my dress was handmade by a friend who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art’s Fashion and Textiles course. The dress was lovely and incorporated French Guipure lace from my mother’s 1965 wedding dress. Using offcuts from both dresses she later made me a small fabric collage piece using various sewing techniques and textile treatments. It hangs in my house and is a very special keepsake.
2. Being taught by a gifted maker and friend how to make wet felt and creating a flower. So satisfying.
3. Visiting the ceramics halls at the V&A for the first time and losing myself for a blissful afternoon.
My career is best summed up as a series of diverting and random adventures. After a degree in English at York University, a year in Australia, a brief spell working for a wine merchant in London and two years as a newspaper reporter in my hometown of Chester, I fell in love with Edinburgh on a visit to the city and decided to move here for a little while. Nineteen years, one husband and two children later I am still in love with Edinburgh and have firmly taken root.
I spent ten years working as a senior bookseller for Waterstones on George Street where I was children’s buyer, institutional sales manager and events coordinator among other things. When it was time to try something different I took my passion for literature to the Scottish Arts Council Education department where I was administrator, and gradually became fascinated by the way people learn and the role of the expressive arts in education. It was a natural progression from there into teaching and I enrolled on the PGDE course at the University of Edinburgh, Moray House. While I ultimately decided not to continue teaching at the end of my course I thoroughly enjoyed the year I spent there and learned a huge amount. I also discovered that I missed the arts and culture sector while I was away from it and am happiest and most effective working in a support role where I can use my organisational and communication skills to underpin exciting and creative work. So here I am at Craft Scotland where I seem to have found the perfect mix.
While working on an Australian cattle station I mustered cattle on a mustang and caught crayfish with my bare hands which wasn’t quite as fun as it sounds. They’re nippy.
Tea. All day. Every day.
Get in touch with Kerstie with any general queries about the office or Craft Scotland.
+44 (0) 131 466 3870