Author Archives: mark

From Westport Maker Faire to the Runway

TV fashion competitions like Project Runway remind us that all great designers begin with a bolt of fabric and a DIY moment. Find out how the Maker Movement is catapulting the fashion industry into uncharted territory at the Westport Mini Maker Faire. Ellen Gang, acclaimed Connecticut-based designer and instructor at Sacred Heart University and FIT, will demonstrate draping fabric on a dress form to construct exquisite garments at this year’s Maker Faire.

Lotus Top by ThreeForm

Lotus Top by ThreeForm is available for sale at

Then, make way for the technology! Demonstrating maker ThreeForm is a design company that creates custom wearable art that fits a person’s exact measurements using 3D body scans and 3D printing.

Tech savvy supermodel Coco Rocha on the Shapeways production floor

Tech savvy supermodel Coco Rocha on the Shapeways production floor

Shapeways is a 3D printing service that is revolutionizing the fashion industry and will also have a booth at Westport Mini Maker Faire. Just this morning, supermodel Coco Rocha visited Shapeways’ NYC factory to witness how today’s designers print jewelry directly into metal, and fabricate full gowns for Hollywood stars.

The world’s first fully articulated 3D printed gown was printed by Shapeways, dyed, and adorned with 12,000 Swarovski crystals. Watch this video to see how the dress went from inspiration, to fabrication, to being worn by style icon Dita Von Teese.

Glass bead rings by Lavender Dawn

Glass bead rings by Lavender Dawn

Alongside the 3D printers will be Lavender Dawn with an oxy-propane torch turning hot glass into stunning accessories. Glass artisan Dawn Lombard Manning creates dimensional glass beads under a flame, cools them in a kiln, and designs wearable jewelry. Not only will you see Dawn in action at the Maker Faire, you can learn more about joining her bead making workshops at Brookfield Craft Center.

Mark Mathias Talks Maker Faire with John Hartwell

Founder and Co-Chair Mark Mathias recently visited DFATV’s Stream of Conscience show where host John Hartwell interviewed him about the origins of the Westport Mini Maker Faire and what it’s all about. See it here first! This video is set to air Wednesday, April 17, 2013 on Cablevision Channel 88.

John Hartwell interviews Mark Mathias about the Westport Mini Maker Faire. Mark is the Founder and Co-Chair of the faire. Working with Bill Derry of the Westport Library, they brought the first Maker Faire to Connecticut last April. This family-friendly event showcases the work of a variety of “makers” from Westport, Connecticut and beyond. It provides an outlet for anyone who embraces the DIY or DIT (do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience. This year’s faire will take place on Saturday April 27th at the Westport Library.

Filmed in The Studio for Acting, Singing, and Video in Hartford, CT on March 17th, 2013.

Brought to you by Democracy for America Fairfield County:

Maker Balam Soto’s project featured in Hartford Courant

Balam Soto, a presenting maker at Westport Maker Faire for the second straight year, has a hi-tech interactive installation in the show “Paper to Pixel” at Vernon Community Arts Center on view through May 12, 2013.

Susan Dunne of the Hartford Courant wrote in an April 2 article, “The installation is made up of a five-foot cube hung with white fabric. A projector is aimed at the cube. From there, the installation takes two forms. On performance days, Soto’s 14-year-old daughter, Jade, straps sensors to herself and dances in the cube. The sensors set off a series of visual and audio projections based on her movements. (‘When it’s dark, it looks tremendous,’ Soto says.) On non-performance days, visitors can pick up a small cube with the same sensors in it. How the visitor plays with the cube will determine the visual and audio output.”

Read the full article, visit Balam’s website, and see the artist’s sensor suit and other projects in action at this month’s Westport Maker Faire!



Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster Available

UPDATED Saturday 20 April 2013 to include a new version of the poster with many added sponsors!

We are pleased to announce that the Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 poster is now available for download and distribution:

Westport Mini Maker Faire 2013 Poster

Please share this poster with your friends and display it in prominent places after having receive permission from the appropriate people.

Special thanks to our current sponsors, including:

And our media sponsors:

A special thanks to Alex Reardon for her work creating the poster.

If you would like to add your name and logo to our list of sponsors, please contact Mark Mathias at or 203-226-1791.

CALL FOR MAKERS: Westport Mini Maker Faire – Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Westport Mini Maker Faire, produced by Remarkable STEAM, Inc. and the Westport Library, is a community organized Faire that brings together science, crafts, arts, engineering, technology, music, and workshops. It will be held on Saturday, April 27th from 10 am – 4 pm at the Westport Library and on Jesup Green.

This family friendly event showcases the work of a variety of makers from Westport, Connecticut and beyond – we provide an outlet for anyone who embraces the DIY or DIT (do-it-together) spirit and wants to share their accomplishments with an appreciative audience.  Exhibits that are interactive or highlight the process of making things are especially desired.

  • Call for Makers Open Date: January 30, 2013
  • Call for Makers Close Date: March 27, 2013
  • Entry Form

How It Works

  1. Click the above “Entry Form” button and fill out the form with as much detail as you can
    • this year we’re going to have signs for your tables, and possibly some sort of maker identification, so don’t misspell your name!
    • give us videos, pictures, blog posts, anything to learn about your project and then publicize it once you’re in
  2. Click the big “Submit” button at the bottom once you’re done
  3. We’ll receive your submission, and you’ll be put on our “Maker Applicants” list
  4. Within 2-3 weeks of submission (be patient with us – we’re all just volunteers you know), you will receive an email letting you know you did or did not get approved. Space is limited so be sure to get your project in early!
  5. All approved makers will be put on our 2013 Makers mailing list and you will receive the Maker Manual to get you up to date on all of the details
  6. On April 27th, you arrive early at Jesup Green and the Westport Library with bright eyes and bushy tails, set up shop, and get to showing off your projects and inspiring people

We’re looking for makers who fit into these categories (and others!):

  • 3D Printing
  • Amateur Rocketry
  • Arduino
  • Art Cars
  • Clothing Making
  • Composting
  • DIY Biology
  • Edible Schoolyards
  • HAM Radio Operators
  • How to Fix Things or Take Them Apart
  • Human Powered Machines
  • Make Your Own Instruments
  • Molecular Gastronomy
  • Performer
  • Raspberry Pis
  • Robotics
  • Rube Goldberg Groups
  • Student Projects
  • Tesla Coils
  • Unusual Tools or Machines
  • Vintage Electronics and Computers
  • Woodworkers
  • Workshops and Speakers
  • Anything else you can probably come up with!

Standard Maker Setup
The day of the Faire, you will get an 8′ x 8′ space. Each space will have one 6’ table and 1 chair. There will be electricity if needed, based upon information supplied on your application. You will need to bring everything else that you need. If you need additional space, please let us know on the application form. You’ll want to be able to display your work and/or show how you make something.

Application Form
Head to and fill it out to the best of your ability to tell us about yourself and your project
For any questions or comments about being a maker, please send us an email at

Other Ways to Participate
: We are happy to have individuals, organizations, foundations and companies sponsor us.  We have four different levels to suit different needs. We are also happy to customize sponsorship opportunities to fit specific needs.  Check out the attached Sponsorship Opportunities document or contact Mark Mathias at or 203-226-1791.

Volunteers: This Faire wouldn’t exist without volunteers. We are 100% homegrown and community organized! If you’d like to join the team or know someone who would like to volunteer that day, please go to our website. Soon there will be a link to a volunteer form.

Westport Library Maker Space and Bill Derry Featured on

An excellent story about the Westport Library’s Maker Space and an interview with Bill Derry appeared on the Web site today.  Read the story and see the photos at:

Balam Soto and His Daughter Win Recognition at New York City World Maker Faire-2012

Balam Soto and his 13 year old daughter, Jade Soto, presented Westport’s Mini Maker Faire in April this year. They made quite a team at the World Maker Faire held in New York City at the NY Hall of Science Museum this past weekend. They were awarded two Editor’s Choice ribbons for their performance of “The Body Sound Suit”, an original piece that combines Balam’s technological innovations with Jade’s dance performance.

Balam, a visual artist who develops artistic, interactive technologies, developed “The Body Sound Suit” to allow performers to generate their own music and visual projections through their movement. Jade, who studies ballet and modern at the Connecticut Concert Ballet in Manchester, began working with Balam on the suit about three years ago. “When I dance in the Suit, I am in complete control over my environment which is both challenging and fun as a dancer. I dedicate a lot of my time to dancing every week and being awarded not just one Editor’s Choice, but two, is really exciting!”

“I love having the chance to work with my daughter. She’s such a talented artist and choreographed the piece we performed this weekend on her own. Since we began working together on this, she has given me a lot of important feedback, which has allowed me to improve the suit. Our next step is to expand the performance to include an electronic instrument that I developed. This will get me on stage performing with her,” said Balam.

The development of this suit was supported by the City of Hartford’s Artist Grant, which Balam won in 2010. He recently won another grant from the city, the Hartford Business Grant for Innovative Entrepreneurs. This grant is supporting the development of Balam’s innovative technologies into do-it-yourself electronics kits that teach people about electronics through fun projects. These new kits were also unveiled at the Maker Faire event over the weekend.

“The city of Hartford has been very supportive of my artistic and technological works and that support has made it possible for me to succeed as an artist and a developer,” commented Balam.

Balam Soto is the co-owner of Open Wire Lab, a company dedicated to the development and sale of creative, innovative technologies. For more information, visit

Staples High School Student Wins Editor’s Choice Award at World Maker Faire 2012

Michael Colley, a senior at Staples High School, Westport, Connecticut, won the prestigious Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon Award at the World Maker Faire 2012.  The event was held at the New York Hall of Science on September 29 and 30. The World Maker Faire has been described as the world’s most extraordinary gathering of DIY talents in science, technology, crafting, fashion, food, and sustainability.

Michael Colley and his Award Winning Bow

“Makers exemplify what happens when you unleash your curiosity and creativity,” said Margaret Honey, President and CEO of the New York Hall of Science. “In grade school, we learn about critical thinking and the scientific method. At World Maker Faire, we see those concepts taken to scale in ways that are inventive, whimsical, and often larger than life.”

The staff of MAKE and Maker Faire award Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Ribbons to the Makers that have demonstrated great creativity, ingenuity and innovation for their Maker Faire project. These ribbons are handed out at each event and signify the highlights of Maker Faire. Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon Winners embrace the DIY Spirit and inspire Makers of all ages.

Michael Colley and Alex Angus at World Maker Faire New York 2012

Michael Colley and Alex Angus at World Maker Faire New York 2012

Colley’s invention is an archery bow that can be made at home using materials purchased from most hardware stores for less than twenty dollars.  He also showed a modified version that cost about thirty dollars to make, but is considerably more powerful and durable. His creation was selected not just for ingenuity but for the amount of excitement it generated at the event. There were long lines as people of all ages waiting to try out the bow in a makeshift archery range.

“I have always wanted to make a bow, so invented my own.  It functions like a traditional bow, but it gets its power from springs, instead of wood,” explains Colley. Many experienced archers and amateur bow makers visited his booth and provided feedback. They commented that Colley’s modified version was as powerful and effective as any traditional bow.

“I love to build,” said Colley. “I like to create new ways of doing things, and rethinking how they work. I recently found my passion for building, and am now embracing it whenever I can. Colley is considering majoring in industrial or product design in college, so he can pursue a career that embodies the maker spirit.

Helping Make Maker Faires

At the World Maker Faire New York 2012, a session titled “Mini Maker Faires: Building Local Maker Community Around the Globe” was facilitated by Sabrina Merlos, Director of Mini Maker Faires.

Left to right: Shannon Hanley (Calgary), Mark Mathias, Luis Rodriguez (Kansas City) and Sabrina Merlo

The entire session can be viewed on YouTube using this link:

Bus to World Maker Faire New York 2012

A school bus carrying Westporters and guests left today for the World Maker Faire New York.  Among them were about 20 students from Bridge Academy in Bridgeport as well as students and adults from Westport and surrounding areas, including two students from the Westport ABC program. The trip is a follow up to the Westport Mini Maker Faire that occurred earlier this year. The trip was sponsored by the Bridge Academy, Maker Faire, Westport Sunrise Rotary Club, Westport Library and CLASP Homes. The two-day event at the New York Hall of Science in Queens is described by organizers as a “family-friendly festival of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker movement.”


Photo by Ruben Guardado