Getting to Know… Prue Burnstein of Paper Rock Scissors Art Studio

Prue Burnstein is the founder of Paper Rock Scissors Art Studio, which runs art workshops for preschoolers, schoolchildren and adults. Prue has a background in the fashion industry as a children’s wear designer and later in recruitment within the fashion industry. She has recently opened the doors of her beautiful studio in Rozelle as a creative outlet for herself and the community. Her classes are project based and offer an inviting, encouraging environment.

Tell us a little about yourself.
I am a mother of two girls who are 8 and 9.5 years old. We live in Lilyfield. We moved to the Inner West about 10 years ago, and we love our local school and the close-knit community around us.
I trained in fashion design and went on to work in the fashion industry for about 20 years. I worked as a children’s wear designer for iconic brand Bonds and later moved into fashion recruitment. One of the things I really enjoyed about recruitment was meeting with students and guiding them through the interview process and in the development of their portfolios.
I absolutely love creating things. For a while I had a business creating collage-based wall hangings using a mix of beautiful vintage, Japanese or unusual papers on a wooden base – I used to sell my creations at markets and online. I also had my own children’s wear business called Billy Duck.
What inspired you to establish Paper Rock Scissors Art Studio?
I’ve been thinking about establishing my own art studio for about 15 years now, but it’s always been a matter of waiting for the right time. My creative background, as well as my more recent mentoring and management skills in recruitment, have brought me to the point of establishing Paper Scissors Rock Art Studios, with our first classes up and running in Term One of 2018. I’m incredibly excited to see this idea come to life after all this time!
What are the various services you offer?
I hold afterschool art classes at the studio from Monday to Friday. I do these in two separate groups: Kindergarten to Year 2, and Years 3 to 6. I try to make the classes as accessible as possible for local families by offering a free van pickup service from Orange Grove Public School and a parent to walk students from Rozelle Public School. Bookings can be made for the whole term or on a drop-in basis.
There are open-age classes on Saturday mornings from 10 am to 12 pm, as well as a diverse school holiday program with various fun themed half-day and full-day holiday workshops. Again, we try to accommodate busy families by offering the option of extended hours with our holiday program.
In addition, I run preschool classes on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays from 10 to 11 am. It’s an opportunity for children and their parents to get hands-on with various art materials without needing to worry about the mess afterwards. The ideal age for the preschool classes, I find, is four to five years old, when children’s attention spans and fine motor skills are more developed. Like the primary school classes, bookings can be made for the term or casually.
Finally, I also do birthday parties at the studio and there will be evening workshops for adults, which will be run by other art creatives.
What sorts of things do students do in the classes?
I like to set a project that is going to include certain skills – for example, drawing techniques, painting with different paint or inks, print making, collage or pottery – new things that the kids can learn and use in their own art. The projects vary in degrees of difficulty according to age.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
I just love seeing what the students can achieve. At the beginning of each class, I’ll show them the end product we’re looking to create and many will say, ‘It looks too hard’, but then they’ll go ahead and do it, and the outcome will be great, and they feel so proud of themselves. It’s amazing being surrounded by all their colourful creations.
Best piece of advice you can offer mums wishing to transform their career?
It can be a scary step to start your own business – particularly with a young family – but if you’ve been thinking about an idea for a while and are passionate about that it, it is enormously rewarding to be able to make it happen. Whilst you do need to have things in place to be able to take the step, I believe if it’s the right thing for you, it all seems to fall into place.
Is there a book or podcast that you can recommend?
I love listening to podcasts, especially when I need some inspiration or distraction. I’ve been enjoying listening to a podcast series called How I Built This with Guy Raz from American station NPR. The presenter tells inspiring stories of inventors and entrepreneurs. The series has really motivated and inspired me in making my decision to start my business.
As a mother yourself, what is the best piece of advice you have received?
I wish I knew all the answers to parenting, but I don’t at all! When things are going well between your children, enjoy those precious moments.  And, know that everything changes – the good and the bad – so if it is good, enjoy it while it lasts!
Favourite places in the Inner West?
Probably my favourite spot in the Inner West is the Tramsheds at Harold Park. We like to ride our bikes down there for ice-cream sometimes and there are so many fantastic options for dinner.
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