We were excited to catch up with Miriam Lewis, a former graduate. We asked her a few questions about her current work.
Cañada Fashion Department (CFD): What degree/certificate did you get?
Miriam Lewis (ML): I received the Theater Costuming Custom Design/Theater Costuming certificate.
CFD: What were your fashion goals?
ML: I had been costuming with my own theater company for some time and felt the need to develop skills and techniques to both make my own work better and to be able to work with others effectively.
CFD: What does your current job entail?
ML: Currently, I work as a freelance costume designer, working with a variety of local companies, including New Conservatory Theatre Center, Crowded Fire Theatre, Lamplighters and Shotgun Players. I am also a lecturer in costume at San Francisco State University, where I teach a variety of subjects, such as costume rendering, construction, patternmaking, design and history of clothing.
CFD: How did Cañada prepare you for work?
ML: Cañada gave me a great technical foundation, especially in the areas of patternmaking; many theatrical designers have some sewing skills but don’t know a lot about creating and altering patterns. This gives me a much bigger toolbox with which to approach any project. In addition, the very high quality of the teaching at Cañada gave me an important model for how to be a teacher myself and for how to work with others on any project. In the process of teaching specific subjects, all of my instructors imparted many valuable life lessons and made me consciously aware of the factors involved in successful work.
My time at Cañada also prepared me for my next step which was the MFA in Theatrical Design program at San Francisco State University.
CFD: Anything else you’d like to add.
ML: Because of the quality of the program, it attracts serious and committed students. At San Francisco State, both as a graduate student and an instructor, the students I encountered who came out of the program at Cañada demonstrated the same kind of commitment, attention to detail, and overall excellence that I saw in my time at Cañada.
Thank you, Miriam! Here are a few examples of her work.
“My design for SFSU production of Juliet, based on Romeo and Juliet, directed by Mark Jackson and featuring a cast of six women and one man, all playing Juliet and other roles. Mark wanted them to have a uniform (including the man); I designed, patterned, dyed and developed the construction method for the costumes. In the image at bottom, one can see the multiple uses to which the costume pieces were put.”