This week we are talking with Karianne Gottschalk, who was one of the ten contestants on Steampunk’d, from GSN, the Game Show Network. Steampunk’d is the first steampunk reality show to be broadcast on cable television.
Airship Ambassador: Hi Karianne, thanks for joining us this week.
Karianne Gottschalk: Hi!! Thanks for having me, fellow pirate.
AA: Being on the first steampunk reality show on TV is an amazing opportunity. As a brief summary, how was it for you?
KG: Well, it was an interesting experience to say the least lol. I met some pretty incredible people, learned a ton and had a blast teaching the makers my tips and tricks. Minus the drama and sleepless nights, it was a pretty awesome time.
AA: How long have you been involved in the steampunk community and what brought you into it?
KG: I’ve been in the steampunk community for about 9 years on and off. My mother passed away in 2011 and I took a hiatus for a few years to put my pieces back together.
I’ve always loved the Victorian era and my art has always had a hard edge to it. When I saw someone at a comicon that was decked out in steampunk attire I immediately fell in love and started talking to them about steampunk. That night I went home and started on my own steampunk costume and props.
AA: That’s a great way to be introduced to steampunk, and all of us certainly enjoy talking about it and our outfits! How long have you been building and creating things, and how did you get started?
KG: I have always been into art since I was knee high to a duck. My sister and I grew up in a very creative household and our mother really honed in on our love of art. She put us into a ton of art classes starting at age 7 and we focused on art ever since.
I’ve dabbled in what seems 1,000+ mediums, but my mother noticed I had a knack for building things. So my parents would buy me Erector sets and my dad was teaching me woodshop at a very young age as well.
AA: Why is steampunk appealling to you?
KG: ITS BEAUTIFULLY BADASS. I love the beauty of the Victorian era and the industrial twist to it brings that hard edge that makes me swoon.
AA: What are some designs or materials that you tend to work with the most?
KG: My favorite has been leather. But I also love repurposing and woodwork. My favorite steampunk piece I’ve made is a 4ft crossbow that I carved by hand with ski pole baskets as the arrow holders.
AA: What are some signature elements in your work that make it stand out as recognizably something you created?
KG: How I define my work is Beautifully Grotesque. I like to make something that is beautiful and sometimes soft, but having this bizarre twist to it that leaves people confused as to wether or not they’re liking the piece cause of its ornate beauty or because it freaks them out. Hahaha
My half steampunk mask I wear I’m trying to reflect the beautifully grotesque. One side (story goes) my face got ripped off by a badger, with the skin removed it exposes the bronze skull that the jaw independently moves by gears, where the other side is my face that I wear a bunch of beauty makeup (I have to make sure one side is heavily made up so I don’t match the “grotesque” bronze skull too closely ;P
AA: Eeeeyaaahh, that IS grotesque! What is something that you’d like to create but haven’t done so yet?
KG: A STEAMPUNK TINY HOUSE PIRATE SHIP! I’ve been wanting this dream to come to life for several years, and I’m hoping now that I can make this dream a reality. Everything I’m working and focusing on is building this tiny home so I can go to conventions, show people my home/workspace, teach leather classes, and hopefully inspire them to go and live their dreams as well.
AA: That’s quite a goal and certainly practical so you can travel anywhere. We’ll look forward to seeing your plans and designs. How has your work changed over time? What are some key lessons you’ve learned along the way?
KG: Hot glue hurts.. But only for a little bit of time until your entire hand is covered in callouses from the blisters ;P
But seriously, I’ve learned everything I know from asking questions. And not being afraid to come up to someone asking them HOW?! WHAT?! Teach me please?! I’ve done many apprenticeships and its taught me so much personally and in my craft.
Let’s break here in talking with Karianne.
Join us next time as she talks about being on the show.
Keep up to date with Karianne‘s latest work on her DeviantArt page.
Also, check out her exhibit page at The Steampunk Museum.