Maker Spotlight: Hapto, AKA Sarah Davitt

Maker News
Maker Spotlight: Hapto, AKA Sarah Davitt

Hapto will be showing off her projects at Maker Faire Milwaukee, which is happening September 14 & 15, 2019 at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Who are you?

Hiya!  My Name is Sarah Davitt, and I also go by “Hapto”

Where are you located?

I live next to some chickens in a tiny house north of Milwaukee.

What is your day job?

I work at the YMCA, and do work in the international exchange and non-profit world.

What makerspace do you attend?

I’m part of the Milwaukee Makerspace, in Bayview, WI.

What kinds of stuff do you make?

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I make lots of things; I’m pretty inter-disciplinary, but the piece that I’m most passionate about is the art, sculpture and environments (often retro-reflective), quilts and accessories that I’ve been making for almost 20 years.   The things I love about retroreflective material is that the experience is very personal.  If you do not bring light to the piece ( or the world ) in a specific way, it doesn’t share its magic.

I’ve also been working with Niantic Inc. as an Ingress player, to make immersive retroreflective art environments that (with tech help! <3 ) creates a feedback loop between augmented reality and reality — So that when you play the Ingress Prime game on your phone, the actions you take online, can change the light and sound of the art in front of you.

I’ve also enjoyed taking the super accurate processes of lasers cutting and throwing uneven and inexact patterns, such as lace, and hand drawn images at them.

What is retro-reflective?

Retro reflective is the material used in safety vests, and on athletic clothing.  It’s not shiny like a mirror that bounces light back in lots of directions, but basically takes the light in receives and sends it back directly to the source – with a 5 degree variance.  So if you approach my work without a light near your eyes (like a headlamp, or a light up pirate eye patch, or some ambient light directly behind you) it will appear dull grey.

How did you get started making stuff?
I grew up coming home from catholic school and playing on a bandsaw, or learning how to make etchings.  I had a very creatively engaging childhood.  I later graduated with a degree in painting from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and just kept going.

What is something you’ve made that really stands out, that you’re proud of?

Most recently, for the Golden Guy Village at Burning Man, created an 8’x12’ miniature bar, covered in retroreflective material called “Saftea.”  It was covered in laser cut mirrored traffic cones, and all sorts of shiny things.  It’s really fun to share the magic of these environments!

What do you have on your horizon?

A nap. for real.  Then looking to engage with the outdoor festival circuits for this sort of environment, maybe a house truck, definitely more quilts!

What is something you’d like to work with but haven’t yet?

I should probably learn how to code some other lights, although right now, the work that I do is quite satisfying as an analog/BYOLight experience.

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Any advice for people reading this?

Bring and keep innovative people in your world.  Say “Yes!” to weird stuff that pushes your boundaries,  and reflect on all that discomfort. Be kind. Bring the light.
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I love making things and sharing with others. I help run Milwaukee Makerspace and produce Maker Faire Milwaukee.

View more articles by Pete Prodoehl


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