Madison Makers | Milkhaus Design

Bethany Nelson's collection of tote bags, clutches and tea towels balance beauty and function
Madison Makers | Milkhaus Design

In a time when so much of what we do takes place in the digital realm, Sara Gomach was drawn in the opposite direction, toward the craftspeople, designers, artists, cooks—the makers—in Madison creating things with their own hands. In late 2013, the local photojournalist began documenting these eclectic artisans in their workspaces, showcasing their stories through stories and images. The following is a glimpse into the creativity she’s captured.


“Follow your dreams” is a phrase Bethany Nelson was used to telling others as an academic adviser. The day she decided to take her own advice, Milkhaus Design was born.

Bethany’s collection of tote bags, clutches and tea towels balance beauty and function. Her pieces are simple and modern, evoking the minimalist qualities of contemporary Japanese design, with just the right amount of quirk. Fresh polka dots, plaids and tie-dyes are hand-printed on neutral linens—perfection on a summer day. And with quality details such as leather trim, brass hardware and sturdy zippers, these feminine accessories are more than just a pretty face.

Walking through her adorable flat on Madison’s east side, it’s clear that this gal has a style and a voice that she’s not afraid to use. An inspiration board on the wall of her home studio gives equal parts motivation and amusement. A floor to ceiling built-in provides storage for screen-printed bolts; some in black, white, taupe and even an eye-catching yellow, which Bethany used to create a contrasting pillow for her living room.

Always clean, always elegant, Bethany’s unique aesthetic doesn’t miss a stitch.

For more information or to purchase Bethany’s fine products, visit