Schoolhouse Supplies Snapshot Series; Barb Burwell

Keeping inventory stocked in the Free Store is a big job. It relies on hundreds of dedicated volunteers; sorting, tallying and stocking the shelves, greeting our teachers and fielding questions. We have had a great resource helping us with all things Free Store for Teachers the past several weeks. Her name is Barb Burwell, our interim Free Store Coordinator, and we can’t get enough of her knack for organizing.

Organizer extraordinaire, Barb Burwell

Organizer extraordinaire, Barb Burwell

I always like to say that, “My parents moved to the West Coast from Ohio so that I didn’t have to.” After being born and raised in Vancouver, WA, I’m proud to say that my innate “West-Coastiness” has kept me here my whole life and honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I have travelled elsewhere. But when you realize that the rest of the world doesn’t have giant glacial volcanoes, the Pacific Ocean, and a free-spirited earth loving mentality… your mind becomes made up pretty fast. But the main reason why I chose Portland as opposed to say Seattle is because all of my friends and family are here. I moved to Portland to attend Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1990, and have never looked back.
As an artist, I often find myself being lured over to the color pencil area of the Free Store with its aesthetically pleasing simplicity. But I have to say, the “poster section” is also quite interesting in that it feeds my insatiable hunger to finesse and organize clutter. Plus, who could get bored in an area where one minute you’re rubbing shoulders with all 44 presidents, and the next the entire solar system?
Working at Schoolhouse Supplies, I frequently think of my Mother-in-Law who actually teaches PHD students in Delaware how to become kindergarten teachers. I just know that she would absolutely love our Free Store for Teachers. Heck, it might even cause her inner child to come out.
When I’m not helping organize the confines of Schoolhouse Supplies, or secretly day-dreaming of colored pencils, I love to cook, sew, create art, ferment cheese, and garden. In fact, if I could have it my way, my lawn would be completely grassless. You might be asking yourself, “What on earth would you put in its place?” Well a great big garden and a bird habitat, of course. I also secretly plan my walks around other, really cool gardens that I wish to one day replicate.

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