Tom Raffield
steam bending

10.02.22. internet

Tom Raffield is a designer and maker who has built a hugely successful business by creating an array of products from wood that have been steam bent into extraordinary shapes, and, subsequently, are sold by the likes of John Lewis and Heals. In doing so, he has effectively brought craft on to the British high street.  

Not only that, but he has also designed installations at the Chelsea Flower Show, created steam bent coffee kiosks in London’s Royal Parks and built his own breathtaking house in south Cornwall, that included (inevitably) a steam-bent timber facade and featured on Channel Four’s Grand Designs.

It’s safe to say that wood is a material that completely dominates Tom’s life.

In this episode we talk about: designing through making; the importance of trial and error in his practice; growing up in a garden centre and his fascination with sustainability; how his dyslexia enabled him to see the world differently; falling in love with Cornwall; and his determination to make craft (relatively) affordable.

But most of all we chat about his obsession with wood in general – and steam bending in particular – and how the process has shaped his life and career.

Find out more about Tom Raffield

Tom Raffield hard at work