Robert Wheeldon set up Aditstudios in 2013 and makes ceramic pendant lighting in a range of styles and finishes using traditional hand working techniques.
Following a career in photography and the film industry (in lighting), using the skills his father and grandfather gave him, it became obvious that he must take all that he had learned and make permanent physical objects.
This post will cover some questions that we had for Robert and will introduce you to perhaps the most interesting pendant lights you will ever come across.
Have you seen any other lighting products similar to yours?
I have found others making lighting in ceramics and work to be used as part of lighting projects but no one seems to make a range as diverse from raw materials to the end product completely from scratch using such direct pre industrial techniques anywhere…in the world as far as I know.
Whereabouts does your manufacturing take place?
What is the toughest part of the product development process for you?
The hardest part has been finding a workshop space that could support the many different stages and techniques involved in what is essentially a miniature pre victorian cottage factory and still produce a finished product suitable for traditional and ultra modern design projects and the solitude of working on your own…I do have a dog now so that helps.
What is the most enjoyable part of the process of product development for you?
In many ways…the solitude.
Do you have any new products/ranges planned for the next year or so?
What products or people have helped to inspire you to create the products that you do?
This is too big a subject and my process is hugely convoluted I could go on for hours
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know
I once repaired Batman’s utility belt…using my utility belt!
You work solely with clay – does that limit your creativity in any way?
Limitation in material is the most liberating experience in terms of problem solving…to have understanding of boundaries gives real freedom.
Which product in your range do you personally use the most and why?
My house has very low ceilings..I cant use any of them.
What environmental considerations have you enacted into your sourcing, manufacturing and packaging?
For a long time I used only rain water although that was due in part to necessity however very little leaves to workshop in terms of waste..very little…clay is pretty good like that…just add water and after a while its back to usable material again.
Once it is how you want it, its committed to the kiln and on its way to being finished. So as long as I’m careful…I do not waste much at all…I reuse my containers and really electricity is the only consumption but I try to keep that as efficient as possible, we are in the middle of moving workshops and the new site has solar feedback
Why did you name your products as you have?
This is so hard to answer…the most concise analogy I can think of is rock climbing…you get so far and set something into the rock face to catch you if and when you fall. You attach a rope and work your way to the next point where you are happy with your progress, in lots of these kinds of endeavours the route….be it rock climbing or walking or….any kind of exploration nearly always inspires a name.
I think humans have always done this…I would have thought that we explored first and had to learn how to tell the story second so its so much a part of the finished structure for me that its hard to unravel and not ramble on.
For instance the first piece I made was the Laerdal named after the Laerdal tunnel in Norway….the worlds longest tunnel.
I had been asked to work in Norway with a colleague and we knew that we had to drive through this incredible feat of engineering so had prepared by agreeing to talk about what we wanted to do with our future while we had no radio reception for 24.51km…this is just the kind of thing the person I was traveling with does as silence was not an option with Stuart.
All of this is pretty academic really as there are radio, phone and GPS transmitters the full length of the tunnel because…its Norway and they had thought of that.
It is however a long drive from the coast to Telemark, a journey that if you ever get chance to make you absolutely must take.
So we talked and talked and by the end Stuart had decided to build a conservatory and I had decided to make a light and drawn a few pictures.
The hemisphere shape of the lower bowl is that of the arch of the tunnel mimicking the only shape you see for the whole trip through the tunnel and its entrances, the upper neck is two halves of that…difficult to explain easy to draw also the ‘ae’ in laerdal are attached in Icelandic being a grapheme so they make the shape of the upper neck and the ‘e’ has the lower hemisphere within its well as the ‘a’ loving like a hook and both like a linked chain…every shape and component of the finished physical object is in the two letters new to me at this point and to the form and structure of the place itself.
The beginning of the whole company and the next stage of my life began right there and the light at the end of that tunnel…is exactly the same shape as the light given out by that first design…there is also a lot of snow in Norway and the first one…was white.
You can shop Robert’s full Aditi Sudios range on Made to Last here.