When we think about our favorite attractions, it’s easy to just consider the concept designers. That’s just the first step to bring those ideas to life. It takes sculptors and other artists to create the places and attractions we enjoy. A perfect example is Valerie Edwards, who worked as the Director of Sculpture and Chief Sculptor at Walt Disney Imagineering for more than 20 years. She learned from the masters and developed her skills to meet changing technology during her time at Disney.
Valerie is [Dan's] guest on this episode of The Tomorrow Society Podcast to talk about her background and career. Her father, George Edwards, worked as an animator at Disney on films like Sleeping Beauty. This exposure to various types of art as a child helped to inspire Valerie’s path. She first worked at Alchemy II for Ken Forsse, a former Imagineer who also created Teddy Ruxpin. Afterwards, she started at the model shop at WDI in 1988 and became the successor to the legendary Blaine Gibson.
Valerie and [Dan] talk about the important relationships that shaped her time at Disney and beyond. She developed a close friendship with Disney Legend John Hench and visited Gibson to receive his blessing and guidance. We also discuss challenging projects like sculpting President Obama for the Hall of Presidents in 2009 plus Johnny Depp and Barbossa for Pirates of the Caribbean. Valerie describes how technology for sculpting has evolved to make such remarkable work possible. […]