By all accounts, Timothy Westbrook is a cheerful guy. He’s beaming whenever I see him: showing one of his fabrics to a guest, chatting with staff, carrying a cup of coffee through the halls or waving from behind the sewing machine in his studio. Beaming.
His good mood radiates with a different frequency today. Three of us have joined him in the studio: a chick with a notepad (me), a guy with a video camera (Dustin) and the woman he credits for launching his weaving career. I watch as he smiles and fidgets with papers on his work station…
Zoom in close. The young performer engages every facial feature to deliver this song. Pan out slowly, take in her full frame. She’s comfortable at the microphone and at home behind her guitar.
Her singing is inspired and sincere. The lilt and texture of her voice is an appealing mix of Toby Lightman, Stevie Nicks and Sara Bareilles. Pan out a bit further to take in the late afternoon sun lighting the furniture of Blu. Most of the chairs are empty. Two small tables chat in the back of the room. One other person is with me at the…
Pfister Artist in Residence, Timothy Westbrook’s second gallery night took place on Friday, July 27th. With the intention of creating a piece that referenced Elizabethan, Timothy decided to tell a story with his second gallery night piece. Using guides from the 1890s, he created a piece that reflects Queen Victoria’s popularizing of the color white in wedding gowns.
Much like his first piece, Timothy’s fiber art is composed of re-purposed materials, and this piece was no exception. Utilizing white plastic bags, Timothy weaved a fantastic Wedding dress – a dress that tied in surprisingly well with Art…
For your convenience, The Pfister has assembled a handy interactive Google Map of all of the participating venues in this weekend’s gallery night. Zoom, click, drag, and scroll your way around the map to see the full picture of what Milwaukee’s Gallery Night has to offer.
Find the full map, along with a Legend and a full list of participating venues here: http://goo.gl/maps/sbu7f
We’d love to see you at the Pfister, where you can visit our Artist-In-Residence, Timothy Westbrook from 5 to 9pm on Friday night and throughout the day on…
Many lovely guests and passersby have come to enjoy the creation process with me. A few questions keep coming up so I thought that I’d share my answers with you so you can get to know me better. Feel free to e-mail any other questions to TimothyADK@gmail.com or come visit the studio and we can chat in person. I’m in daily Monday-Saturday and Sunday by appointment. Hours change day to day. You are welcome to request my presence in the studio by e-mail the address above.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When did you start…
The emphasis of the Artist in Residence program here at the hotel is to remind us all that art is living and breathing and not just another layer of wallpaper.
I have seen first hand how this program allows guests to get a hands-on experience of my work. I love to see guest reaction when they encounter my work up close and personal.
The best part of the studio is that you never know who will pop in. It continues to be one of my favorite parts of the experience.
Around the start of my second month, I had…
My first month as Artist In Residence has been action packed. While it has been a whirlwind to get here, I could not have asked for a better start.
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of meeting some wonderful people and attending some great events, making my transition into this position smooth and fun.
I’ve been introduced to a lifetime of memories. The beauty is each one is new, unique and provides me with a bit of inspiration.
Some of my favorite moments include:
Being graced with the presence of a “Klondike Kate” who offered to sing me one…
It is the people who are the best at what they do who are the most difficult to write about. How do you document the seam which is so well constructed that it appears seamless? I’ve been trying to figure out a way to explain the concierge position for quite some time. Pfister Chief Concierge Peter Mortensen is a terrific storyteller, in addition to being an stellar concierge. Peter has a love for both the arts and Milwaukee history, both details which lead him to the story he tells below.
Peter and I traveled to record this piece…
That’s the best way I can describe this Narrator experience. My last few posts will be going live over the next couple of days and my successor will be at work getting acquainted with the speed and rhythm of this sparkling old gal on Wisconsin Avenue. From an artistic standpoint it’s been like getting to eat chocolate cake for breakfast every day. The staff have been great. They’ve been generous with information, gracious in introducing me to guests and other coworkers, and ever tolerant of my constant game of 20 questions.
Every day I’ve arrived…
This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Wisconsin Dancesport Championships. The company has a long history with the hotel as they’ve held the annual event at the Pfister all these years. This high-heeled party brings dancers from across the country to compete at their specialized steps.
It is interesting to see the dancers’ posture and gait change depending upon which dance is announced. For example, to an untrained eye (mine) the tango appears stiff and exacting. The foxtrot takes on a more sly, playful, and sensual body movement. During waltzes dancers’ bodies become languid and…
“I’m going to be 22.”
That was Joe’s answer when I asked how old he was. His response was shared with a grin in that adorable way that only people up to a certain age are excited to tell you how old they’re going to be.
Joe started with the Pfister as a busser at the ripe young age of 18. After time spent cleaning tables Joe moved on to being a food runner and from there he has become a bartender. Joe bartends upstairs in Blu on occasion but most nights you can find him downstairs…
Timothy Westbrook, Pfister Artist in Residence, celebrated his first gallery night Friday, April 20th 2012. The event was a great success. Here’s a glimpse into Timothy’s rationale behind “The Femme Nouvelle” piece and the evenings events.
The show began around 5:30 pm with Timothy reenacting a turn of the century dressing with his model Rose.
Timothy walked through the process of tightening a traditional corset and discussed his use of recycled fabric. Both the corset and the prototype skirt were fashioned out of recycled Pfister hotel bed sheets that he had dyed a beautiful deep purple.
We are proud to introduce Dasha Kelly as the fourth ‘Pfister Narrator.’ In the role, she will spend time in the hotel’s lobby, speaking with visitors and guests and sharing their stories right here on the Pfister blog. As narrator, Dasha will be posting blog entries at least twice-per-week over a six-month period.
“It’s an honor to be entrusted with a tradition that captures people’s extraordinary and everyday stories,” said Kelly. “I’m excited to join the history of this landmark as the new Pfister Narrator.”
Kelly is founder and director of Still Waters…
There tend to be patterns of why people live where they live. Often times they got a job nearby, or that’s where they went to school, or possibly their spouse’s family is from the area.
Roc is a concierge at the Pfister and his path to Milwaukee definitely did not follow any of these typical routes. Roc and his Quaker lineage hail from Northwest Indiana. In his home state Roc had been a teacher of Latin, German, and English before becoming involved in starting non-profit organization. The organization provided the beginnings of what we now know as…
I was sitting in Timothy Westbrook’s studio this afternoon. It is a few days after his first successful gallery showing and already the man is back at work. While Timothy constructed new fabric joining cassette tape and wool I listened to the repeating slick/slack/creak/crack sound of his loom in motion. With the new dress in the works I sat thinking about the ongoing, timeless, human dialogue we seem to have termed “The Great Conversation.” This may seem strange or lofty material to be considering at work, but when surrounded with artwork on every wall you…
A young girl
tells her grandfather
she’s learning to write.
the yellow pencils
and blue lined paper
She tells him she’s learned
how to write her name.
“Well that’s magnificent!”
“I’d love to read your handwriting.
Will you write something for me?”
She shakes her head,
you can’t read it yet,
“I’m just practicing.”
Her grandfather smiles
and leans down to whisper
gravelly grinning decades next to her face
that is the great secret.
The Medici Family were bankers from Tuscany, Italy. Their initial family monies were made in the textile industry and they were influential in developing the double entry bookkeeping system. During the renaissance they owned Europe’s largest bank.
I’m sure their advances in bookkeeping are fascinating but that is not generally why the Medici name has survived throughout history. The Medicis were great patrons of the arts and sciences. Artists so highly regarded we don’t bother speaking their entire names; Masaccio, Donatello, Brunelleschi, da Vinci, and even Galileo.
The first time I saw a concert in Summerfest…
Travelers. Travelers everywhere. Transient folks of every stripe walking, running, sitting, working, swimming, eating. Carrying luggage. Grabbing a cup of coffee. Adding sugar to their tea. En route toward somewhere. Arriving from someplace else.
Ah, airports. All of humanity distilled to a small area becoming a sudden, immediate culture. Unique and specific to that individual moment. The energy of not knowing what awaits on the other side of the tarmac touchdown chirp. I haven’t seen an airport in awhile but all the travelers inside this hotel make me feel as though I’m spending my time in a…
Timothy Westbrook’s first gallery night will be exciting and very interesting. He has both stagnant and performance components to the event.
Here’s a sneak peek of what he’s working on for the show.
Timothy Westbrook’s first gallery night will be in conjunction with the Milwaukee wide “Gallery Day and Night” event.
Updated information: Timothy’s performance piece to open at 5 pm
At 5:00 pm Timothy’s model, Rose, will be assisted into her corset fashioned after clothing from 1902. Promptly after, her hair will be styled. This will take place in the studio gallery…
The Pfister specializes in weddings. They seem to happen here every weekend, sometimes a few concurrently. Here’s a poem about something we’ve all seen at weddings: The Generations Dance. You know, the one where all the married couples get up and gradually leave as the number of years they’ve been married are ticked away by the announcer.
* If you’d like to hear a spoken recording of this poem, please scroll to the bottom to listen or download *
Without further ado…
After the bride and groom
their first as
man and wife…
As mentioned in an earlier post I’ve put considerable thought toward how to chronicle Jeff, his playing, and more specifically his playing at the Pfister Hotel. There are several occasions when I’ve left the hotel and driven home in silence because after hearing him at the piano anything on the radio sounded like a frivolous muck.
Different ways to “capture” Jeff battled with one another in my head. Photographs, photographs of his hands, photographs of his facial expressions while playing. Brief videos of the way his hands dance across the keys. Recording the audio of him playing…
MILWAUKEE – April 6, 2012 – Emerging fiber artist Timothy Westbrook, along with his floor loom and antique sewing machine, has moved into The Pfister Hotel’s studio space, where he will create art and entertain guests for one year. The historic hotel, which is owned and managed by Marcus® Hotels & Resorts, has hosted a popular Artist-in-Residence program for the past three years. Westbrook moved from upstate New York to Milwaukee for the opportunity.
“Drawn to The Pfister by the artistic and historical reputation of Milwaukee, I’m eager to develop my artistic voice in this unique setting,” said…
This is the one I’ve avoided writing. The elephant in my room. The profile I’ve put off for five months while I watched and listened quietly in the background, leaning against a column with my arms crossed wondering how it happens and how to write about it.
Every time I’ve listened to Dr. Jeffrey Hollander play the piano I’ve had a clear desire to write about him, to chronicle the man and his work. I’m a music fan but I’ve never been a musician. I can converse in a limited manner regarding jazz…
I said I’d move here
for two years-
no more than two years.
That was my limit.
suggested a promotion
but said I had to relocate.
I was so sure
I’d move right back
that I considered
sub-letting my apartment
instead of ending the lease.
My friends all joked
that I was moving to Milwaukee
to become a cowboy.
That was fourteen years ago.
Before moving here
I thought this place
was a small town
and couldn’t wait
to get back to the city.
Ah, big brother Chicago. Just two hundred years ago we were part of the same Illinois territory.
People come to Milwaukee for many reasons. Business. Dinner. Conventions. Celebrations. Sporting events. Art openings. Museums.
Visitors ask certain key questions which lead me to conclude they’re not from Milwaukee. This line of conversation usually takes place after someone says, “So how do I get a cab around here?” or “This place is great, where else should I visit?” Or they call the water drinking oasis a fountain instead of a bubbler.
I’ve noticed a trend of Chicagoans visiting us just…