Ep.8: Why doing art equals running a business with Erin Dollar from Cotton & Flax

Erin Dollar is a surface pattern designer and textile artist living in San Diego, California. Since 2012, she’s created boldly patterned home goods for her company, Cotton & Flax, which features products made in small batches from high-quality, natural fabrics. 

As a student at UC Santa Cruz, Erin studied fine art printmaking, which led her to experiment with printing on textiles. After graduating, she continued to experiment with textile printing and further refined her aesthetic vision before founding Cotton & Flax, which became a home for her textile designs.

Through Cotton & Flax, Erin creates beautiful textile designs using her unique hand printed fabrics. Erin also teaches printmaking workshops and shares her love of printing with her students. By drawing upon her background as a fine art printmaker, she hopes to share her love of handmade textiles with a wider audience and promote a thoughtful approach to decorating your home.

Get in touch with Erin

Featured course

In this course, you will learn about 17 proven ways how you can make money as an artist. And there is more! The possibilities will grow exponentially if you combine them all!

Key Takeaways

“As a creative professional, it’s not just about the work … if you only work, you will burn out really fast. You need to be able to treat yourself with care – exercise, refresh your brain, eat healthy”

  • When studying art at college, she learned so much about the history of art and contemporary art and saw artists working and how they were living as creative people. This gave her idea how this can work. Without role models it’s hard …
  • She graduated in the middle of recession in the US so there wasn’t a lot of traditional jobs and she made the best out of it and started to focus on making money from her art
  • Artists need to have a realistic view about business and if it’s really for them because for some of them it can bring anxiety and lot of stress about the paycheck, new projects, etc. For some people, it’s not the right way. It is a lot of work and it’s important to know yourself
  • She wishes she did more of business studies because making a living by doing art is more than just doing art and some of the business stuff is so much important
  • “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.”― Doris Lessing

Featured Resource

Skillshare is an affordable online learning community with awesome classes for creative and curious people, on topics including Procreate, illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, self-care and more.

Resources mentioned

  • University Erin went to: UC Santa Cruz
  • Business tool(s):
    • Google Calendar – a time-management and scheduling calendar service developed by Google
  • Podcast(s):
  • Book(s):
    • Grace Bonney: In the Company of Women – Erin is always looking for people who are modelling the type of success she wants to emulate and it’s hard to find this in women because they don’t have such a good visibility and this book is that more inspiring
  • Arroyo – the collection of 44 patterned fabrics in collaboration with Robert Kaufman Fabrics
  • Workshops and classes by Erin (Printmaking, Creative Entrepreneurship)

Special thanks to Erin for joining me today. See you next time!

All artworks by Erin Dollar, used with permission

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