Nicole Mills-Novoa

Nicole Mills-Novoa is an artist and designer inspired by the natural world. She enjoys spending time in the wilderness observing and absorbing its wisdom. With a BFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute and now an Advanced Certificate in Apparel Design from MCTC, she’s excited to combine her love of art and fashion into the creation of wearable art. Her intention upon finishing this program is to continue to create from the unending abundance of inspiration all around, always with a sense of wonder, curiosity and humility. As she is inspired, she wishes to inspire others, that’s it and that’s all.


A few summers ago I went up to the Boundary Waters with my Dad for the first time since I was young. On the trip we spent our days observing and documenting loons, eagles, sea gulls and a lone Canada goose. This is where the inspiration for the Un-Common Loon series was born. Being so close to the loons was truly humbling experience for me, “they were so large and prehistoric looking with those piercing red eyes and soul evoking cries.” As we left the BWCA, I knew that I would do a fashion line to celebrate their beauty and strength.
To create the Un-Common Loon Series, I copied the exact pattern of a loon in Adobe Illustrator and had custom fabric printed at I worked in shades of white, black and red to evoke the stark body of the loon. I also wanted to convey the loon’s watery habitat, its home since before the fall of the dinosaurs. I achieved this by hand-dyeing velvet and silk in the colors of north woods water. The water elements were designed to flow, like the graceful movement of the loon in its natural habitat.