Making Life Interesting-An Interview with Carolyn Bruce

An Interview with Steampunk Designer Carolyn Bruce

by Alyssa Laube



Photo Credit


1. How would you describe your business, The Painted Cookie & Carolyn Bruce Designs?

The Painted Cookie is craft-based…papier mache masks and animals, tea giftware, designer tea infusers and tea related items of jewellery and decoration.

2. How did you get started in crafts and designing?

Carolyn Bruce Designs is jewellery based, the majority is my twist on Steampunk; Jules Verne meets Queen Victoria…statement pieces of wearable art…embellished boots and robot jewellery…

3. Were you influenced as an artist by your family or home town?

25 years ago as a stay-at-home-mother…it was a necessity to make ends meet and it has now developed into a full-time career path…

4.You design quite the variety of products. With so many unique ideas, how do you keep yourself inspired?

Inspiration is everywhere…one only needs to touch something and the process begins automatically…often at an alarming speed…not something one can turn off…my mind is at least a year ahead of my physical capabilities…

5.Who was your main inspiration growing up and how has it changed from then?

Entrepreneurial parents who were into Pottery and Oriental Art…they still continue to inspire me to work hard and push myself.

6. How have you developed as an artist, both professionally and personally?

In the last 3 years I have started to gain confidence in myself and my work and have pushed through many fears and dived head first into jewellery…self-taught…I am ignoring the jewellery stereotypes and naysayers and going where my creativity takes me…TRUSTING MYSELF!

7. How did you receive your training?

I am trained as a designer…industrial and interior…worked as a graphic designer both here and in NZ…a lot of my training has been on the job experience.


Photo Credit Cogit Ergo Shoot


8. Do you like experimenting with your art and if so, in what ways?

Yes…love to use non-conventional materials and everyday items in unconventional ways…I use many organic pieces such as branches and rocks in my work…

9. What type of environment do you prefer to work in (ie: a studio, home, etc.)?

I work in my studio…which is in total chaos most of the time…I do not thrive in a tidy restrictive environment…

10. Where do you get inspiration for your art?

Anywhere and everywhere…ideas jump off the page of the newspaper…someone’s conversation…the thrift shop…exposing oneself to other environments and cultures…always have an open mind to possibilities…and they will come to you…

11. Do you have a favorite memory that has come out of your business?

A memory of how many people said it was stupid and what I wanted to do was impossible…I love a challenge and will try anything and look forward to seeing their faces one day…

12. What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about being an artist?

Favourite…work on your own schedule …create all day long…

Least Favourite…inconsistent flow of money …criticism of ”friends” who think you are insane…!!!

13. Did you always want to be an artist? If not, what did you want to be and  when/why did you change your mind?

Yes…have made art in various mediums since I was 3 or 4…loved to make things and my mother would sell them to stores…

I wanted to be an architect but physics…a prerequisite…was not my forte…so went to Design School instead…


 …Art is an ever-evolving process and as an artist one is always changing…makes life interesting…

Visit Carolyn’s Facebook Page for more information:

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