Hooray, another alumni interview! Recently I e-spoke with Adrienne Corral, MFA '14, about her gig working as a crafts artisan for Feld Entertainment.
Feld produces costumes, props, and scenic elements for a whole range of different touring shows, from Disney on Ice
and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus
.Q. First up, what is your official title?
A. Costume Specialist : CraftsQ. For a bit of background for the readers, would you describe the costume facilities at Feld--how many employees, what different positions there entail, specialty equipment the shop owns, etc?
A. The facilities here at Feld are pretty spectacular. We have seperate paints and dye rooms for crafts, as well as a draping station in the main room. The main room consists of 8 potential draping / first hand stations with a 4 × 8 table, an industrial and domestic machine. There are multiple cover stitch machines and sergers on a middle table. We've a tailor, two drapers and two first hands in the sewing room, though our manager often does show work as well.
We have two kind of special jobs here, a Disney Specialist and a Wardrobe Liason. The Disney S pecialist works on the of all the Disney characters (meaning Mickey and crew, not princesses). She works closely with Disney shops to ensure consistency with the parks. Our wardrobe liason is in charge of talking with and taking care of the needs of our 19 touring shows. He helps schedule refurbs, orders show laundry (think Equity underwear), and any other similar issue. There are often show visits involved, which means traveling out to wherever the show is, be that Chicago or Dubai or London.Q. What is your background in the area of costume production, and how did you land the job at Feld?
I started sewing at a very young age, costumes in particular in high school. I attended FSU
for theater and realized quickly that I had no great skill with or affinity for design. I worked at Utah Shakespeare Festival
my first summer of graduate school with Ruth George, our Disney person. She was orginally hired to do my job as well as care of the Disney things. The summer after I finished my courses at UNC
the job was split in two and she called me about it.Q. What advice would you give to readers who aspire to work for a company like Feld?
A. Feld is very much a company that hires from the inside. Many of our office staff were performers or stage hands who moved to a sit-down job. We are constantly hiring for our tours (I think a total of 19 or 20 different shows) and at least one of our managers in the shop came off of a circus wardrobe head position. Q. Can you talk about some of the projects you have worked on recently?
A lot of the projects I work on are refurbishing jobs. So I often am putting unitards on dress forms and trying to recreate the painting effects orginally put on there by Parsons-Meares
or [Eric] Winterling's
, or whomever made the garment. If not that its stripping and repainting latex prosthetic masks. I also have a very tight Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) on my contract that makes it so I can't talk specifically about my work on Disney shows. But for the circus, I can. I do a TON of dye work during circus time. Lots of flesh tones and crazy rich colors. Our shop builds the clowns, so it can be hard to look at some of the yardage. I also play milliner for the clowns and make new hats for those clowns who require them. Circus is my favorite part of the year, even if we're working the craziest of hours.Q. What is your favorite must-have tool or piece of equipment for the work you do, and why?
A. My airbrush. It's the best way to paint the majority of the masks and unitards I have to work on. It's a midrange Iwata, and though they can be a pain to maintain, they are what I use to paint with 90% of the time. Then I would have to say as an extension of that, our 90 gal stand-up air compressor really makes the job easy.Q. Does Feld have any internship opportunities for those still in school and if so, can you talk a bit about what it involves and how readers might apply?
A. We're starting internships, though I believe they are limited to the University of South Florida - Manatee
campus. We don't currently have any costume interns, but I hope that changes soon.Q. I like to include one image, a stage or workroom shot of something recent or your favorite costume or whatever...
A. The image below is a shot over the top of our third rail of our three-level-tall stock (two stories). It's about the size of an indoor football field. I was on the sccissor lift, restocking.
Thanks, Adrienne! It's always exciting to hear about what our graduates are doing, and to learn about all the different careers out there for professional costume artists. To read more of these kinds of posts, check out the "Interviews" tag.