Meet the maker: Tom Raffield

Today it’s the turn of lighting and furniture designer Tom Raffield to take over Glass Jars & Photographs. Here’s what this talented man does with wood and steam:

Large flock light from £795, Tom Raffield

Large Flock light from £795, Tom Raffield

You can see why I absolutely love Tom’s work, right? I’ll hand over to him to tell you all about it…

Tom Raffield

Tom Raffield

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself?

I’m Tom Raffield and I shape intricate wooden lighting and furniture using a technique called steam bending. This literally involves using steam to make wood more malleable, allowing it to be bent it into different curves and loops. I originally started doing this at Falmouth University and graduated in 2005, after which three of us set up design company Sixixis. We did a lot of experimenting and then in 2008 I broke out on my own and in 2011 I won the Lighting Design Association Lighting Design Award.

Coat loop £35, Tom Raffield

Coat loop £35, Tom Raffield

What does your work life look like?

My life and work are based in such a fabulous location now – since Christmas we’ve been in the brand new woodland workshop which we built in the woods behind our house in Cornwall. Much of it has been built from trees on the site. A typical day involves working with and managing our two apprentices to make items from the range on tomraffield.com as well as bespoke pieces.

Cage light £295, Tom Raffield

Cage light £295, Tom Raffield

Where do you get your inspiration?

A lot of my lights are inspired by nature – the Flock Light from birds in flight and the Butterfly Pendant from the delicate form of a butterfly – so it’s wonderful to be surrounded by the woods and be a stone’s throw from a walk on a windswept beach. I grew up in the country and was always playing in the woods so I suppose really not much has changed!

White light £184.99, Tom Raffield

White light £184.99, Tom Raffield

What does your own home look like?

It’s a beautiful Grade 2 listed gamekeepers cottage in the former Trevarno Estate near Helston. It was built in 1882 and when my wife Danie and I bought it a few years ago it was in a dreadful state of disrepair. We’re slowly bringing it back to life. It’s an ongoing project but we’re hoping to secure planning permission for a grass roof extension and transform the house and the site around it in a sustainable way, re-using as many of the materials as possible.

What would your ultimate home buy be?

I tend to have things I would like to make rather than to buy. I really want to create a huge steam bent four poster bed. I just need to find the time!

For more information, visit Tom’s website, or have a look at is blog.

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