The East Side's Rochambo, 1317 E. Brady St., has been a long-standing sanctuary for artists, writers, group organizers and lone thinkers to tinker with creativity and intellect over a cup of coffee or tea.
A big part of what makes the space more than just another café to quench your thirst is the rotating art exhibits gracing the walls of the common areas.
The works rotate on a monthly or bi-monthly basis and beginning in June, local artists Vanessa Andrew and Leah Illingworth transform Rochambo's upstairs gallery lounge into the "Loom Room."
The "Loom Room" is a fibers installation and a manifestation of Shorewood High School students' students' interpretations of traditional Chinese calligraphy.
According to Andrew, the show explores light, space and line with looming, tying, weaving, and knotting techniques, found object and scrap craft materials as a way to explore and push the limits of traditional fibers practices and the use of the line as a communicative device between cultures.
"We create and convert two-dimensional lines into three-dimensional space to produce meaning and share evolving viewpoints and ideas," she says. As a Milwaukee-based artist, Andrew is perhaps better know as clothing artist Madam Chino, one of the original founders of Fasten Clothing Collective (whose Bay View boutique recently closed and re-opened as Sparrow Collective.)
Her second art alias is Penny Spencer, working as an illustrator and self-publisher in the genres of DIY, illustration, printing and sculptural fiber arts. She currently teaches clothing workshops at the UWM Union Craft Centre and Discovery World, and screenprinting at Agape Community Center and Sparrow Collective.
Illingworth is a graduate of UWM's art history program and teaches Chinese at Shorewood High School. She is the founder of Artists Against Advertising, which seeks to find innovative ways to examine and subvert the permeation of commercialism in our culture.
The students of Shorewood High School's pioneering Chinese program range from freshman to seniors. They are diversely talented but united in their interest in studying Chinese language and culture, and expressing themselves through their work.
Visit Monday through Friday 7 a.m.-midnight, Saturday 8 a.m.-midnight, and Sunday 9 a.m.-midnight.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”