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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Sept. 1, 2014

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In Arts & Entertainment

Allison Beilke and her winning Milwaukee fabric.

In Arts & Entertainment

Beilke's fabric is a fun take on Milwaukee structures.

Milwaukee fabric places in Spoonflower contest


Milwaukee T-shirts, posters, keychains and beer mugs are available at many local malls and festivals, as well as the airport, but now, Milwaukee fabric is on the market, too.

Recently, Allison Beilke created a fabric design for a contest hosted by Spoonflower.com – an online community that allows people to upload their designs and have them printed onto fabric – and she won fourth place.

"I was thrilled to get so many votes with my Milwaukee design and beat out cities like London, Paris and Amsterdam," says Beilke.

The contest, called "Cityscapes," asked for city-themed designs and Beilke came up with "My Fair Milwaukee." The fabric design features Beilke's original drawings of iconic local structures like the Wisconsin Gas Building, Milwaukee Art Museum, the Hoan Bridge and Miller Park, along with her Bay View apartment building, Third Ward office space and her brother-and-sister-in-law's South Side bungalow.

"Once I decided I was going to do this design I started taking mental notes on my commute of architecture, color schemes and buildings that make our skyline stand out," she says. "I was inspired by our city's layers of history and fantastic colors like cream city brick and the dusty blue-green of the lampposts in the Third Ward."

The drawings are simple yet stylized and cute – but not too cute. The color choices are uplifting but not too bright and would fit in with a variety of color schemes. It's easy to imagine curtains or a duvet cover made from "My Fair Milwaukee" fabric.

The fabric is available on Spoonflower.com and costs $11 for a fat quarter (about 21 inches by 18 inches) or $18 a yard. Beilke has made a pillow from the fabric and says she recently sold a bulk order to the Modern Quilt League Milwaukee.

"I hope to see some of their projects soon," says Beilke.

Beilke, who works for Becker Design, created about 60 other fabric designs and is currently working on some other patterns to coordinate with the "My Fair Milwaukee." She is also a a party planner, a painter and a collage artist who sews and designs wedding invitations. She graduated from the Hartford School of Art in 2005 with a degree in illustration and from Milwaukee Area Technical College in 2010 with an interior design degree.

"Textile design combines these three loves – graphic design, illustration and interior design all into one," she says.

Although originally from Green Bay, Beilke moved to Milwaukee in 2006 and is smitten with Brew City. She says her fabric is helping to visually spread the word to people all over the world that Milwaukee is a beautiful city. Apparently, someone in Canada saw her fabric and commented that it looked like a place worth visiting, and a former Milwaukeean saw the pattern online and said it brought back a lot of great memories.

"I thought that was sweet," says Beilke.

Beilke has a lot of creative plans for the future, including painting, improving her sewing and designing more patterns for Spoonflower.com.

"I always enjoy getting a message that someone has purchased one of my fabric designs and is using it to make something," she says.

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