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

A quick recap of the week

Here are a few highlights from the past week on AOA: + The finalists for the AOA Startup Grant pitched their ideas to the judges,... (more)

Goodbye, bison

here are the loose bison surrounding my car earlier pic.twitter.com/PoWYsppyEK— Patrick Dodson (@patrickdodson) April 24, 2015 The Daily Gazette's Patrick Dodson captured the best photos... (more)

Albany red light camera program set to start soon

The city of Albany's red light camera system will start operating within the next two months, the Albany Police Department said Friday as part of... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Ready, set... weekend. There is no shortage of things going on in the Capital Region this weekend. You may not have time to do them... (more)

Morning Blend

Normanskill Some residents along the Normanskill say they're still worried about potential flooding from the landslide this week. The city of Albany announced Friday morning... (more)

Recent Comments

While I understand why they're saying there isn't enough demand, I also am positive I would use cabs more if they were even slightly more affordable and reliable. I have zero interest in using the taxis in Albany, and would rather alter my plans (if possible) than use their service. I feel like the cab companies are saying this is a demand issue, when really it's just a "I dislike you so much, I'd rather find ANY alternative to avoiding you" issue.

Albany red light camera program set to start soon

...has 3 comments, most recently from JayK

Goodbye, bison

...has 1 comment, most recently from Ron

Morning Blend for Apr 24

...has 1 comment, most recently from JustJoe

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 2 comments, most recently from Allison Lerman-Gluck

Son of Fuccillo

...has 8 comments, most recently from tony elia