"Gil's Oat" (2017.8)

Catalogue Record




"Gil's Oat"

Made in





Two part bracelet of painted recycled tin laser-welded over a wooden core with peg-and-magnet clasp join.

Materials and techniques

Constructed by welding recycled painted tin over gelutong wood. The painted tin was from an ‘upmarket’ oat tin contributed by Gil, a friend of the maker. The bayonet joint is constructed of stainless steel rods and tubes with circular magnets around the larger bayonet and tube (one on each side). The welding was carried out using the maker’s own laser welding machine (made by Rofin-Baasel).


length:  7.5cm
width:  7.5cm
height:  5.5cm
weight:  50g

Object number



  • "Gil's Oat", David Poston, 2003, Crafts Council Collection: 2017.8. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • "Gil's Oat", David Poston, 2003, Crafts Council Collection: 2017.8. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

  • "Gil's Oat", David Poston, 2003, Crafts Council Collection: 2017.8. Photo: Stokes Photo Ltd.

Maker's statement

After 16 years working for Development in Africa I became involved with jewellery again. During my brief foray into full-time institutional lectureship at Loughborough University I was introduced to welding with a laser. I was fortunate to be able to agree a partial work-swap with the manufacturers, Rofin-Baasel, in order to be able to acquire an ex-demonstration welding machine. Exploring its capabilities I quickly became cognisant of the advantages of the very restricted heat transfer. Needing low-cost easy-to-work metal with which to make prototype models I started using old tins which in turn led me to a recognition of the fun to be had with the metal from painted tins. The low heat-spread meant that the paint either side of the weld hardly scorched, unless it was (light-absorbing) black. I made a series of painted-tin-over-wood welded pieces, mostly bracelets, of which there are examples in the V&A and Fiztwilliam Museum collections.

Although I had just spent almost 20 years visiting Africa for rural development purposes the use of tins and the shapes I made with them were not inspired by African artisans’ work with tins, though I believe that my familiarity with African work legitimised the shapes and vivacity of the work that emerged. There is arguably a double subversion in the work, seen beside comparable African artifacts. What in Africa would have been a creative but comparatively crude technical exercise is subverted by using sophisticated skills and a high level of technology. In turn this use of skills and technology is subverted by being applied to a waste material of zero apparent value.

The bracelet was originally made with an opening involving separation and a twist to create sufficient room for the wearer’s wrist to enter or exit. This involved a concealed sprung mechanism within the body of the bracelet. The two sides of the bracelet were permanently connected.

Sold by a London gallery it was returned after a few days, the catch having been broken by forcefully inappropriate handling on the part of the new owner. The bracelet was scrapped.
Several years later I had obtained some very powerful small magnets and was experimenting with the possibility of using them as the basis of catches instead of the sprung mechanisms I had been constructing. I realised that with some reworking of the original piece the body of MF605 (Crafts Council note: Gil’s Oats) could be re-used to make a two-part bracelet with a magnetic catch, resulting in the fully-functional bracelet as it now is.

David Poston, 19/07/2017