A behind the scenes look at the craftsmanship that goes into our signature, curved wooden lighting collections.
Our workshop team work hard to make high quality products, handcrafted from sustainably sourced materials, inspired by nature. They care deeply about the entire making process and are forever striving to deliver the Tom Raffield ethos of innovation, craftsmanship and sustainability in each and every product. We wanted to celebrate our talented team and their love of making with a closer look at how our collections are commissioned in our woodland workshop:
Our Cornish workshop is a hive of activity from the early hours of the day. Steamers must be up and running from the get-go and whilst they're heating up the team give any products finished the day before one final round of quality control, the lights can then be taken over to our logistics team in preparation for dispatch.
"One of the challenges and joys of working with a live material like wood is that no two pieces are the same. Each piece of wood and, inevitably the final product, has individual characteristics. This could be anything from the size or colour of the knots to the direction and tone of the grain, it makes each Tom Raffield light unique".
The team will make a variety of lights each day, so have to determine which materials need preparing first, and in which priority. Some lights, such as the Scots Pendant, Arame Pendant and Cage Pendant use laser-cut internal structures and require a longer preparation process that includes an assembly of the sub-frame.
Likewise, our Giant Flock Chandelier is formed of 97 individual steam bent ash, oak and walnut components which have to be carefully handmade prior to the chandelier being assembled.
"All the preparation is complete by 11 am and we start to carefully assemble the pieces. One day we'll be making Skipper Pendants for a large retail partner, the next a trio of our iconic No.1 Pendants for a private client. The variety of orders we receive makes every day interesting - no day in the workshop is the same, which is great".
Product assembly is usually complete by 3:30 pm so our light finishing process can begin. Depending on the specific design, our lights are then finished with an eco-friendly natural oil or varnish in order to protect the product and provide a quality finish.
With our products in high demand we believe that this care and attention ensures our values and integrity are in each piece, something that could never be replicated by mass manufacture.
Our expert makers must work together to create our products and utilise a range of skills and techniques needed for our unique lighting designs. Strong team work helps to keep the standard of making high and also means the skills and knowledge of our makers is shared on a regular basis.
"Our lighting team are a tight-knit unit. Maximising expertise, sharing knowledge and always focusing on teamwork allows our workforce to meet our high level of craftsmanship".