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

"First of all, nobody eats lunch anymore..."

NY Mag's Chris Smith talks with an unnamed lobbyist who works here in Albany about the lobbying life -- the seemingly endless lineup of fundraisers... (more)

UAlbany's Lyle Thompson wins college lacrosse's top trophy. Again.

UAlbany lacrosse star Lyle Thompson won the Tewaaraton Trophy Thursday night for the second year in a row. (The trophy is like the Heisman for... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Wait, what? It's the weekend? Already. Haven't made a plan yet? No worries. We've pulled together our weekly (weekend-ly?) list after the jump. Got something... (more)

Morning Blend

Kenneth White case Tiffany VanAlstyne -- accused of killing her 5-year-old cousin Kenneth White in December -- is described to police on video how she... (more)

Today's moment of summer

Reach! The sun is up there...... (more)

Recent Comments

... I think for me and many in the community, there is a desire to go back to this point in time, were neighborhoods were rounder, more complete and effervescent, and not so square that they can't take any unique pegs coming its way. There is a lot of energy in this neighborhood, and potential, not unlike other industrial zones in other cities, that have scene remarkable change towards diverse economies. Some do it well, others not so much, so I think it will be important to take those lessons learned from our peers to make sure it is done right. ...

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 2 comments, most recently from Justin H

UAlbany's Lyle Thompson wins college lacrosse's top trophy. Again.

...has 1 comment, most recently from Amelia

The Capital Region's theater district

...has 5 comments, most recently from Mary

The New Pornographers at Bearsville

...has 3 comments, most recently from Amelia

Cameras and unintended consequences

...has 1 comment, most recently from Peter Bowden