Cat Mazza's craftivism

By Melissa Mansfield

Cat Mazza smallThe week of election day, every US Senator will be receiving a hand-knitted helmet liner.

Why? Because a group of 33 knitters from 20 states have been making the liners to use as protest message against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why? Because of Troy's Cat Mazza.

Mazza is a technologically savvy knitter with a social conscience. She's been lauded in international magazines for her work as a "craftivist."

Mazza says she simply combined her love of crafts with her passionate activism, to create projects that make people think.

The helmet line project is the most recent example. "I had a lot of frustration with this administration, both of my senators voted for force, part of that was in this project," Mazza said. "I wondered about what other people in other states felt."

So she used her blog to reach out to the greater knitting community. "I wanted to getting knit hobbyists involved, using the craft circle for political organizing."

The 30-year-old Mazza's been mixing technology with crafting for a long time. As a grad student at RPI, she created an application called knitPro that lets people turn any image into a pixilated chart perfect for use as a knitting pattern. She's used the program to recreate company logos, particularly GAP and Nike, to call attention to their use of sweatshop labor.

Since then, other people have used KnitPro for their own craftivism. A design called "I Love My Public Library" was uploaded as a response to allegations that Sarah Palin had attempted to ban books when she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Other uploaded images have paid tribute to Martin Luther King Jr and suffragist Lucretia Mott.

Mazza says she's been amazed at the depth of subject matter. "When you can upload any digital image, the diversity is amazing. Pornography, children's stories, sports teams.""

The Stitches for Senate helmet liners will be mailed from Florida, where they are currently on display, two weeks from now. Meanwhile, Mazza's working on a video project about the history of wartime knitting America called Knit for Defense.

photo: Cat Mazza

Say Something!

We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.

The Scoop

Ever wish you had a smart, savvy friend with the inside line on what's happening around the Capital Region? You know, the kind of stuff that makes your life just a little bit better? Yeah, we do, too. That's why we created All Over Albany. Find out more.

Recently on All Over Albany

The mystery of Hazel Drew's death

The modern world is... The Daily Mail carrying a long article about the unsolved murder of a young woman in Sand Lake in 1908 because... (more)

Behemoth Short Film Festival 2017

The Behemoth Short Film Festival returns to the Saratoga Arts Center April 15. Blurbage: The Behemoth Short Film Festival showcases some of the very best... (more)

Lifestyle Farming Conference at SUNY Cobleskill

This looks like some quality fuel for stoking those backyard gardening / DIY / I've-had-enough-I'm-moving-to-a-farm dreams. SUNY Cobleskill is hosting its first Lifestyle Farming Conference... (more)

Morning Blend

State budget The state budget is due by the end of Friday -- but Andrew Cuomo is talking about the possibility of an "extender budget"... (more)

A look at the plan for new bus and pedestrian amenities at Lark and Washington in Albany

The spot where Washington Ave, Central Ave, and Lark Street run together in Albany is one of the city's busier intersections -- and not just... (more)

Recent Comments

I went to one last month. My friend took his oath of citizenship. It is a great ceremony. A local school choir sang. There was a moving speech from one of the new citizens who grew up a refugee and at the age of 21 was finally a citizen of a country for the first time in her life. The League of Women Voters give warm welcomes, flags and voter registration cards to all the new citizens. It gave me such warm fuzzies. Everyone should try to go to one of these if they get the chance.

Lifestyle Farming Conference at SUNY Cobleskill

...has 1 comment, most recently from Barold

A look at the plan for new bus and pedestrian amenities at Lark and Washington in Albany

...has 7 comments, most recently from Andrnew

WHAT? (airplane flies overhead)

...has 3 comments, most recently from Mike

Today in America

...has 5 comments, most recently from BS

Public meeting for second phase of Madison Ave Road Diet in Albany

...has 13 comments, most recently from Paul