May 10, 2016

(Martinsville Bulletin) Many people think engineering and creative hobbies don’t have anything to do with each other, but according to Libby Sharp, they make each other better.

For Friday’s Science Café, Sharp will present a program on how creativity and engineering come together to create endless possibilities with the Maker Movement. She will talk about new technology such as 3D printers, laser cutters and DIY electronics which are expanding the world of craft.

Sharp is a 2004 graduate of Magna Vista High School and a 2008 graduate of the University of Virginia, and she received a master’s degree in 2011 from the University of Cincinnati. She worked as an aerospace engineer for six years, and now she teaches for the Academy for Engineering and Technology, a program at New College Institute.

She also enjoys working on crafts, she said, and “I think just about everything I do, I do with an engineer’s bent. … I like to make just about anything. I like to sew. I like to bake. I like to do digital design work” including silk-screening. She also knits.

“I’m an engineer. I teach engineering. I have a lot of creative hobbies,” she said. During her talk, she intends to show “how those two things aren’t as disjointed or as opposite as people have a tendency to think.”

Sharp said she regularly takes classes at the Fab Lab in Martinsville. Some of the things she has made there include a chess set and a larger-than-life puzzle of a deer head, which she will bring to the program to show.

The laser cutter also is great for “cutting out really intricate designs or shapes from fabric” in quilt-making or making garments, she said.

People also can make sculptures with the laser printer, using “art software for digital sculpting. Take a computer model of whatever your sculpture is, and use a 3-D printer to make a real-life article.”

This Science Café program will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at Serendipity Coffee House and Bistro at 10 E. Church St., in the Jefferson Plaza, in Martinsville. The program is free to attend, and attendees will receive a 10 percent discount on all menu items.

At the program, she will give handouts listing resources that can help people in incorporating technology into their crafts.

“Technology isn’t as scary or unapproachable as people make it out to be,” Sharp said. “We have the Internet (which) you can use to learn these skills or enhance existing skills, or share your skills.”