Dexter Payne is known as one of the world's premier mixed martial arts and crafters. And his latest creation, a wool-knit battle-axe, should only further solidify that reputation.
"I'm really happy with it," said Payne, manning his table at a Mixed Martial Arts and Crafts show last weekend in Vermont. "It's the same size as a real battle-axe, but has some of the finest needlework I've ever done."
Selling for $20, Payne says the battle-axe makes a perfect throw pillow or, "If you hit someone enough times with it, I'm sure their head would eventually come off. I used metal thread along the edge of the axe."
The mix of down-home comfort and brutal violence has fueled the growth of mixed martial arts and crafts in recent years. The cottage industry began in 2006 when Randy Coutre's grandmother knitted him a blood spatter towel for a nationally televised pay-per-view fight. Four years later, more than 1,000 mixed martial arts and crafts shows have been held across the country in 2010 alone.
"We've really tapped into something," said Steve Johnson, president of the National Mixed Martial Arts and Crafters Association. "People always thought arts and crafts were for little old ladies. But these little old ladies are lonely people, oftentimes in pain, and full of rage. They will happily buy a knit throwing star or a quilt depicting bloody submission moves. It gives them an outlet for their anger."
As martial arts and crafts grows, so has its reputation in MMA. In fact, Payne will have another breakthrough at the next UFC event.
"Dana White has asked me to knit him an Ed Hardy-style sweater," said Payne.