Alison Kinnaird was born in Edinburgh and studied at Edinburgh College of Art from 1969 to 1971. She also gained a masters degree in Celtic Studies and Archaeology from the University of Edinburgh. Kinnaird is one of Scotland's leading glass engravers. Much of her work takes the human figure as its main subject and she is inspired by the Scottish landscape. In addition to her artwork, Kinnaird is one of the foremost exponents of traditional Scottish harp music. She was awarded an MBE for Services to Art and Music in 1997.