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All photos courtesy of Merchntt.

Merchntt: A local designer’s textiles draw inspiration from the natural world

By Amanda Armstrong on October 12, 2016

Dylan Noble can recall being a very young boy and spending many of the waking hours drawing. Even then, he knew that he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. 30 years later, Noble has had a career as a professional artist and now spends most of his time focused on creating a visual language in the form of clever, idiosyncratic patterns with his company, Merchntt.

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Noble first became interested in patterns during a summer course on screen printing at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. The course was meant to serve as an introduction to the medium and teach you a wide range of techniques. It was in a class focused on the technique of repeating patterns that Noble’s passion was ignited; his head already full of ideas.

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Before beginning to work with textiles, Noble worked as a professional artist specializing in oil painting. Although he had fulfilled his dream of becoming a full-time artist, oil painting was time-consuming and Noble found he would sometimes lose interest in the piece before it was finished. Another downside to oil painting was, after all the time spent, he was left with one work that would be displayed in the home of one collector.

With textiles, the process is one of many shorter steps – Noble draws out the design by hand, then inks it out, sometimes adding a bit of watercolour, and finally turns the image into a repeating pattern using Photoshop. At the end of this process, Noble is left with several products; the original design, a digital copy, and a fabric design that can be used to create many unique pieces.

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“The possibilities and options are endless,” remarks Noble about working with patterns. Noble often finds inspiration in his surroundings, from his observations of the natural world or of the people around him, or a song that he listens to: all of these things can spark the creative process. From there, he creates several rough sketches of the idea, selecting the best one to replicate into a pattern. For Noble, the process is about developing a visual language.

Noble has focused primarily on textiles for the past couple of years. This July, after nearly two years in the making, Merchntt launched itself as a producer of patterns that are a little dark, a sprinkle odd, but all in all really kinda rad. Merchntt’s first line, ‘East Coast Series’, as well as several other new designs, are available as prints, pillow covers, and pocket squares.

Merchntt has also recently partnered with UpDated Furniture, a workshop based out of City Centre that refinishes vintage furniture. Together they have created one of a kind works of art, pairing antique furniture pieces with Merchntt’s bold patterns.

In addition to launching Merchntt, Dylan has also been involved in several interesting side projects as of late, including his most recent collaboration with Passage Studio. For this project, Dylan designed 16 graphic representations of migratory birds, to be displayed on a bird blind that Passage Studio had created. The blind is now on installed in Cape Jourimain National Wildlife Park.

Merchntt is just in its early stages and Dylan is hopeful that it will continue to grow, alongside his collection of quirky patterns. Always one with big aspirations, Dylan would love to see Merchntt continue to grow and have their products available in stores across Canada. With talent like Dylan’s, we’ve little doubt he will make it happen. For the time being, you can snag Merchntt’s products on his website, or follow him on Instagram for more.