Art World Expo: Artists in Cars-Carolyn Bruce Designs

by Monika Blichar

Humble. Shy. Sweet. Thoughtful. Courteous. Generous. Hidden Gem. 

When I think of Carolyn Bruce, these are the words that first come to my mind. She is not only a wonderful soul who beats to her own drum in the Vancouver arts scene, she is truly one of the nicest, most thoughtful and caring people you will meet. I remember when she first came to my old studio on Pemberton Avenue in North Vancouver in 2013 or so to show me her work to be juried for the Art World Expo. She lugged this big black trunk looking luggage case up the stairs and was so quiet and reserved. She was so still and her accent reminded me of a sweet aunt growing up-perhaps Mary Poppins kind of too. When she opened her case, I was stunned. (Literally, I think my jaw hit the floor with a thud as I set my gaze on her wondrous, magical and other-worldly creations.) I had to look back at her a few times because I couldn’t grasp that this sweet lady who was so polite and courteous could make these wild designs, over the top trinkets and fancy contraptions. It was like seeing the work of Mr. Hyde while Dr. Jekyll was presenting..not sure if that’s the right order for those guys, but I think you know what I mean!

Since then, I’ve grown fond of working with Carolyn. She is one of those rare people who is so generous with her time, resources and work it restores your faith back into humanity. Carolyn has participated in our event for four years now and each year, she supports our event by telling others to attend or participate, donating works to the auctions, baking cookies for volunteer meetings and even making dog treats for our dogs. She knows we are busy and doesn’t want to leave the dogs feeling unloved when we are crazy! It’s truly just amazing how much she thinks of others and making sure that everyone feels good in her presence.

One day Carolyn, I know you will be a big eclectic creative billionaire right up there with Louis Vuitton and Lady Gaga! You’re one person that I know truly deserves it not only because you’re ferociously creative (often lacking sleep making beautiful things for clients and shows) but also one genuine person in the Art World. Stay that way forever! XO

Enjoy our interview together in this Genesis Richmond G-80 Sport courtesy of Genesis Richmond’s Jennifer Friesen. Thank you Project Her Inc. for supporting our community of artists.


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: