Excitedly calling chainmaille armour “new and different” might not fit in the context of military history, but for the craft show circuit, it is a unique entrant that got Scott Gilroyed’s booth a lot of attention at the Our Best To You art and craft sale over the weekend.
Gilroyed came out from Winnipeg especially for the popular sale held at Westerner Park, now in its 22nd year. He has been making the maille for the last eight years, and now with a partner runs Dragonwing Fashions in Winnipeg.
Chainmaille shirts, which take about 50 hours to make and sell for upwards of $650, are popular among Medieval recreationists and those who do live action roleplaying and cosplay. But the bikini tops and colourful jewelry Gilroyed had on display at the sale have drawn the eye of exotic dancers and others.
“It’s not just armour anymore. It can be clothing, and the jewelry is probably the mainstay of what we do,” he said.
While his booth is also present at a number of comic conventions through the year, Gilroyed said his craft has been very well received on the craft show circuit as well.
There were 210 exhibitors at the annual show, which features only products handmade in Canada. The show is juried to ensure an even mix of exhibitors among different categories, and show manager Jo-Anne Fahey said there are significant waiting lists in some disciplines.
While there were a number of booths of art, clothing, food, and Christmas decor, only at Art Price’s booth could you grab yourself a ‘beer holster.’
The cowboy-hatted Calgarian came up with the idea back in 1995, but not as a means to keep near some suds. Rather, he fashioned the initial leather beverage holder after having to deal with a mucky water bottle he could not hold onto while working outside.
“A few of my neighbours said ‘Gee, that’s pretty handy, Art, maybe you could make me one.’ That started back in 1995 and now I’ve been doing it for 19 years. I’m semi-retired and do about 10 shows a year. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
He said the holsters can be used to hold just about any beverage, while some handymen have used the holsters for holding drills or ranchers have used them to hold needle guns.
At the Red Deer show, one woman even bought six of them for her and her bridesmaids to wear at an upcoming wedding. The one thing the holster won’t hold, though, is a handgun, a design element that fits right into Price’s way of life.
“I’m into having fun, not making war,” he said with a hearty laugh.