Tom Raffield is one of the most exciting designer makers to be working in Cornwall today. He uses the simplest techniques to create mind boggling pieces of furniture that loop, weave and twist. With his team, they have perfected the art of steam bending, a process that uses heat and moisture to soften timber enough for it to be bent into new forms. This way of working has been uses for many many years, yet Tom brings a refreshing take on the steam bending method. From his woodland in the depths of Cornwall he produces furniture that is brimming with movement and energy.
Tom's approach to making couldn't make any more sense to us if it tried, he sources timber from his own woodland or sustainable forests. Very little is added or taken away from the timber, the furniture and lighting that is produced in their workshop sings of the material and natural processes used to get it from a tree trunk to a wooden table. It's an easy concept to grasp and a very beautiful way of working with wood. This is why we were extremely excited when Tom got in touch to design a Workshop Apron with Midgley Green.
After toying around with a few ideas we came to the conclusion that we needed to reflect the working practice and ethos of the furniture; simple, functional & sustainable. We created an Apron that is hard wearing yet comfortable with pockets to store pencils and tools. An adjustable strap around the neck allows the maker to fit the Apron easily. We finished the pieces with leather tags, laser cut down the windy Cornish road with Cut By Beam.
Once we had completed the design and delivered the Aprons to Tom and his team we wanted to see the pieces in action. We met Charlie & Will from the workshop, they gave us a fantastic insight into the steam bending process. Watching them work gave us great satisfaction as the Aprons felt right at home in the space and clearly performed their duty seamlessly. Charlie & Will turned a solid piece of timber into a pliable soft material which was then shaped, turned and moulded. It almost looked like a dance watching the craftsmen quickly work to make sure they bent the timber before it cooled down enough to snap. A well choreographed performance with incredibly striking results.
We're very proud to have worked with Tom to create these Aprons for his workshop.
To find out more about his furniture and lighting head to -