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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Hawk Spotlight on: Hilo Fiber Bar

Miranda G. Lopez, owner of Hilo Fiber Bar, with some of her hilo fiber art inside her shop. PHOTO: MACKENZIE ALLEN ’23/THE HAWK

Address: 723 Chestnut St. FL 2, Philadelphia, 19106

Miranda G. Lopez grew up with artistic desire. Her creative spark was initially fueled by the care packages of coloring books and Play-Dough her father sent to her as a child. 

Evolving as an artist, Lopez was always looking for new mediums to experiment with. She discovered the art of hilo, Spanish for “yarn,” fiber on Pinterest. The process consists of weaving yarn through nails on a wooden board to create layered geometric patterns.

“I took some nails, and I started hammering in different places. No order, no stencil, nothing. I was like, ‘OK, this is gonna be something,’” Lopez said. 

She began posting her hilo fiber creations on social media, and in 2020, she opened the doors to her very own workshop, Hilo Fiber Bar.

“I always knew I wanted to create a business, but I didn’t know what that was going to look like,” Lopez said. “I knew being an artist was a journey I could go on, but it’s completely two different paths.” 

Lopez said she had to learn how to be an artist and a businesswoman at the same time. March 25 she hosted a workshop with over 400 participants at the Philadelphia Stock Market Flea, and March 26 she was featured on PHL17 News for a segment on women-owned businesses.

Hilo Fiber Bar is a BYOB workshop, so people over age 21 can enjoy an alcoholic beverage while creating their own unique hilo fiber art. The space is covered in color, with the window bars painted a vibrant yellow and the floors a glossy green. Lopez has a rainbow of yarn hanging on the wall, ready to weave. A large installation of her astronaut hilo fiber creation commands the room. 

Lopez aims to leave her customers feeling inspired to consistently feed into their artistic side. She encourages them to continue making hilo fiber art at home, as the only materials necessary are wood, nails and yarn.

“As long as it sparks some type of creativity in you to do it long term, I feel like that’s what I want for you to get out of it,” Lopez said. “Hilo is becoming more so a creative hub than it is an actual workshop.”

Lopez hopes to continue supporting women in wood shop and large machinery handling through her business. With only a small percentage of woodworkers identifying as women, she advocates for women to step out of their comfort zones and get to (wood) work. 

Lopez herself took many woodworking classes so she could acquire materials independently, but that did not stop people from assuming she does not know what she is doing.

“I’m always singled out. I’m small, I’m a woman,” Lopez said. “That’s why I took classes, so I can learn this and say, ‘I don’t need your help, I’m just a regular shopper here like anyone.’”

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