By Meghan Urback.
Erin Dollar has many qualities one hopes for in a small business owner and maker of handmade goods: vision, spunk, a love of her materials, a taste for working solo, and a willingness to experiment. She’s got the concrete things, too: a close-knit professional network, a crisp website, stellar product photography, an up-to-date blog, and many, many Instagram followers. She even has a studio cat.
Her line of screenprinted textile and paper goods, Cotton & Flax, has brilliant colors, bold lines, and the cohesion of a successful brand. Everything is made by Erin in her studio in Los Angeles. All of her pillow cases and tea towels are stitched on her Janome Travel Mate sewing machine, still going strong after over a decade of use. She loves the entire process of making, from sketching patterns with brush and ink to screenprinting fabric and stitching pillowcases. Though she aims to hire her first employee by the end of this year, she is struggling to figure out which part of her work she would hand over to someone else. Perhaps it would be her email inbox, she concludes with a laugh.
All of the simple, graphic patterns for Cotton & Flax products start as marks in Erin’s sketchbooks, where they often sit for months before being picked as potential new designs. Once she chooses a pattern, Erin draws it out full-size with pen and ink before scanning it to be burned on a screen. She likes to highlight the fluid, imperfect lines of brushstrokes made by her hand.
Attention to detail and to her products’ longevity is important to Erin. The interior edges on her pillows are neatly finished and she uses a natural linen-cotton blend fabric for her towels in order to produce the perfect balance of absorbency and durability. Linen lasts forever, she explains, and only gets softer and more wonderful with age.
Though makers so invested in physical, handmade details often have difficulty bridging the real and the digital, Erin does not. Her attention to detail and flair for clean, bold images translates to her website, blog, and Instagram feed where she is a prolific supplier of photos and fun tidbits about new products, stockists, and Los Angeles craft stores.
Thanks for the inspiration, Erin!
Images courtesy of Erin Dollar and Hollin Brodeur