Chain mail crafters are embracing their medieval roles
Slipping a chain mail hood over his head while brewing Cuban coffee in a Keurig demonstrates Jason Good's embrace of worlds past and present.
Good, 40, wandered through his North Huntingdon residence as he rattled off his many interests.
Employed by day as an engineer with Philips Healthcare in Monroeville, he enjoys spending nights and weekends pursuing hobbies including cooking, cutting gemstones, restoring cars, working with leather and making items from chain mail.
He draws a blank on the concept of “free time.”
During the recent Westmoreland Fair, Good's wife, Amy, showed her rabbits while he sat nearby, weaving together pre-punched metal scales into a sleeve.
“It's like knitting for men,” Good joked.
The two enjoy being “playtrons,” dressing as an armoursmith and bar wench while holding court at the pub at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival in South Huntingdon.
“For six weeks, we get to play Halloween every day,” Good said.
Through his website, Good sells jewelry, bikinis, toys, belts, Maid Marian wedding crowns and other wares made from chain mail, metal rings linked together. He makes his own patterns and designs custom pieces for some clients.
“People will see me and say, ‘Where did you get that bag?' or ‘Can you make me x, y or z?' ”
He became interested in the medieval period while playing Dungeons and Dragons, a fantasy role-playing game, in a school program for gifted students.
When Good later came upon someone weaving chain mail at an arts festival, “I said, ‘I think I can do that.' ”
He finds himself teaching others the craft at the Renaissance Festival's pub and at his wife's soccer league games.
Washington County resident Mallory Miller, 26, is another playtron who makes her own chain mail, a skill she learned from Good.
“I actually bought a (chain mail) bikini from him. When I went for my final fitting, I said, ‘I should know how to do this,' and he taught me,” she said.
After attending Renaissance festivals since age 8, Miller began assembling costumes, including a warrior, a Viking and a fairy.
Miller, who is allergic to Good's dogs, and Good, who is allergic to Miller's cats, will meet in a restaurant to work on chain mail. Miller, of Houston, occasionally makes jewelry for a customer when Good does not have the time to take on a project.
Good, whose tools include a hand-crank sewing machine and a faceting machine, worked with Miller when she became interested in scale mail, small armor scales attached to each other in a pattern resembling fish scales, backed with cloth or leather.
One year she made Christmas ornaments for friends and family, contributing several pieces to Penn State, where her sister studies, for its Renaissance Faire.
Neither is particularly concerned about profiting from their creations.
“I just love learning. The core of my hobbies is figuring something out. As long as my hobbies break even, I'm happy,” Good said.
Mary Pickels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-5401 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Hempfield infant fights rare disease
- Jeannette teen ordered to stand trial in classmate’s slaying
- Gibsonia film producer makes documentary about female troops serving in war
- Ligonier Township business will have to control grease
- Couple files lawsuit claiming Ruffsdale Gun Club contaminates soil, water
- Greensburg Salem school board discusses stricter anti-nepotism policy
- Walker: Scottdale Association’s Good Friday service site changes to Trinity church
- Residents warned after incidents with bottles rigged to explode on Jeannette streets
- Fire marshal probes cause of blaze that destroyed vacant Derry Township house
- Westmoreland drug task force plans fundraising efforts
- Westmoreland judge offers Court in the Classroom