Name: Jill & Nicolas Duarte
Business name: HipStrings
What kind of items do you make?
Our focus is on tools for the fiber arts that are a delight to use and beautiful as well. We also offer our favorite fibers. Our signature items are our supported spindles, our variety of spinner’s control cards and needle gauges, and a wide range of fibers that are perfect for support spindles.
How long have you been in indie artist?
This will be our second year at Indie Knit & Spin – last year was our very first fiber festival and we look forward to another chance to interact with our local fiber arts community.
What got you interested in your art of choice?
Both of us were inspired to continue the tradition of fiber arts in our families and since then our interest has grown. Specifically for HipStrings, we are excited to bring knowledge we have from science and engineering to make better products for the fiber arts community.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
The people – I absolutely love the community.
What most inspires you?
Trying to match available materials to their best uses. Every idea starts with the end practicality, and then we try to figure out how to best accomplish that end goal and make it a pleasurable and delightful process for our customers.
What makes your creations unique?
We combine practical and useful with beauty and design, we strive to offer items that are unique and a range of products that meet the needs of anyone.
Do you have a favorite item or color way?
My current favorite is “Tiny Dancing Kraken”, which is a yellow, orange, coral, red, lavender and plum color way based on a photo of a octopus, the name comes from a discussion from the Ravelry group I frequent the most.
What is something you strive to offer the fiber arts community?
Making the most of our science and engineering backgrounds to make the fiber arts experience more enjoyable for others.
Does being an indie fiber artist affect other aspects of your life?
I am constantly covered in fluff, or other flotsam from the studio. The fiber arts are no longer a hobby, they are a way of life.
What is your fiber arts superpower?
Jill’s superpower is spinning cotton easier than wool (at least on spindles or a Charka). Nik’s superpower is being able to teach anyone to support spin and mastering knitting techniques in a single attempt.
How is the fiber arts world different for you today than it was five years ago?
I feel like I was just starting to get my bearings in the fiber world 5 years ago with learning to knit, doing more difficult crochet and learning to dye. I was just starting to get interested in spinning.