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

In no more than 10 words

Long story short (because that's the point here): We had a chance to stop in to the Next Door Kitchen & Bar in Ballston Spa... (more)

"Very dramatic and a hell of a conversation piece!"

Currently listed on Albany Craigslist: "Electric Chair - $325" -- "Great for any "Man Cave", Bar, Fraternity or club house. Of course this is not... (more)

Stuff to do this weekend

Things should start to dry out just in time for this pre-Halloween weekend. And there's plenty to do, from haunted hayrides, scary movies and harvest... (more)

Morning Blend

Gabriel Vega -- accused of killing Vanessa Milligan in Lansingburgh this past April -- was arraigned on charges that included murder, abortion, and arson. The... (more)

Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

Two things (indirectly) prompted this post: 1. The discussion around that Miss Pearl question about moving out of Albany for the school district. 2. Another... (more)

Recent Comments

... Let's also lower the city speed limit to 25 while we're at it. Maybe then these morons will not go 45 miles an hour down Washington Avenue. Why should cities surrender themselves to the automobile and automobile drivers? - the very forces that killed cities to begin with. ...

Albany Common Council passes red light camera ordinance: comments, votes, thoughts

...has 36 comments, most recently from -B

Poking at some numbers for New York school districts, graduation rates, and income

...has 5 comments, most recently from Sarah

Stuff to do this weekend

...has 1 comment, most recently from Jennifer

Contractor for matching historical building style?

...has 5 comments, most recently from Cmaxby

Figuring Sh!t Out with Amy Biancolli

...has 3 comments, most recently from Deanna