Skip to content

The Skipper - the story behind the light

12 July 2018

Iconic design meets Scandinavian styling. Inspired by shapes and formations existing in the natural world surrounding us, the Skipper Lighting Range has an abstract, yet bold aesthetic.

Skipper pendant

Statement yet simplistic. Scandinavian-inspired and signature. The Skipper Pendant compliments a range of living spaces and yields shadow and light in equal measure.

Since its inception the Skipper Lighting Range has become integral to the Tom Raffield collection and its sought after, sculptural aesthetic has made it one of our bestselling, iconic products.

Our standard sized Skipper Pendants took centre stage at Heal’s Festival of Light, Orange Square Belgravia for London Craft Week, our very own Pop Up Shop at 67 York Street in Marylebone for London Design Week and additionally, at Port Eliot Festival last summer.

Skipper Pendant at Port Eliot Festival. Photography credits: Sarah Louise Bennett
Underneath a Skipper at London Craft Week 2017

First in line

As one of our very first designs (following the No.1 Pendant Lighting Range) it's no surprise that our Skipper Pendants have become one of our most distinguishable designs. Retailed through both John Lewis and Heal's department stores the Skipper is an established favourite among many, including Tom.

"I still have a soft spot for the Skipper Pendants. They give out light and shadow in equal measure and can really make an impact in any setting. I guess that's why I've got quite a few in the house - they are really captivating lights to look up at".

- Tom
An Ash Skipper in the Grand Designs home. Photography credits: Alicia Waite

In numbers

The Skipper Lighting Range comprises of three pendants (standard, large and giant) and a Floor Light.

All the Skipper Lights are available in our three popular wood types: Ash, Oak and Walnut.

Each skipper is made up for twenty strips of wood. The length and width of each piece is dependant on the size of the pendant being made.

Every light is given several coats of an eco-friendly water-based varnish, with a natural matt finish. This gives the wood more depth, seals the grain and gives the light a tactile feel.

making a skipper
The Tom Raffield workshop team making Skipper Pendants
Measuring wooden petals before assembling

The making process

The initial stage in making a Skipper Pendant, for every size, is to create a frame out of laser cut birch ply, which is then clamped down by a supporting plate, a cog and a support ring.

Each of the twenty wooden petals for each Skipper is then measured to size, cut and then organised into a specific pile, dependent on its length.

Five layers of wooden petals in alternating short - medium sizes are then assembled to the frame using a dry construction method that does not use any adhesives.

Dry construction stage in making a Skipper Pendant

Once all five layers are in place, the wooden petals are counted with care, measured again to ensure upmost accuracy, and sanded until they are smooth. The whole Skipper light is then sandwiched by a second supporting plate and drilled into place.

To finish, the light is given a coat of eco-friendly varnish, which protects the raw wood from the heat of the bulb and gives it a smooth satin matt finish.

Skipper Pendant Large in Ash
Tom raffield
Tom Raffield Skipper Pendant Large in Walnut wood

Perfect Place

Known for its abstractness, our Skippers are best known for complementing hallways, bedrooms and living rooms where they yield striking shadow and light in equal measure.

Choose Ash wood for a pinky luminosity that will allow light to permeate through the wooden petals, Oak for a golden hour glow that will bathe and add warmth to any space or Walnut to draw the eye and add drama in abundance.

Achieve impact with a lighter touch. Embrace simplicity. Make a statement in your space.

Posted: 12.07.18
Updated: 16.04.21

Items added to basket