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

Today's moment of summer

Euclid Ave in Albany.... (more)

Downtown Albany outdoor movie series survey

The Downtown Albany BID is setting up an outdoor movie series for later this summer and fall. And it's looking for input on which movies... (more)

Another record year for New York State maple syrup production

New York State set a new modern record for maple syrup production this year, the Cuomo admin announced Friday. The Empire State produced 707,000 gallons... (more)

On Lark Street, not extinct

Heather sent along this scene from Lark Street Thursday. Just your typical summer evening. (Thanks, Heather!)... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Summer! Summer! Summer! Sorry. We're excited about the summer. We should be focused on telling you what there is to do this weekend. Weekend! Weekend!... (more)

Recent Comments

... I can't overstate enough how wrong stereotypes about school districts can be. A lot of people have preconceived notions about places, both positive and negative, that don't always match reality until you and your child experience it yourself. ...

Another record year for New York State maple syrup production

...has 2 comments, most recently from Alex

Weekend Destination: Finger Lakes

...has 6 comments, most recently from Laura

Today's moment of summer

...has 2 comments, most recently from Greg

Downtown Albany outdoor movie series survey

...has 1 comment, most recently from greg

On Lark Street, not extinct

...has 2 comments, most recently from Heather Hewitt