Patrick Connell’s creativity started in his grandfather’s shed at a young age and took him to Holmesglen’s MSF40213 Certificate IV in Furniture Design and Technology course where he’s learned skills to design and make fine furniture.
One of Australia’s brightest up-and-coming furniture designers, Patrick was presented with the esteemed Finely Crafted Award (Emerging) at the 2020 Fringe Furniture Awards.
Patrick’s winning furniture piece (pictured below), a coffee table made in quarter sawn American Oak, recycled English Oak and Huon Pine, captured his attention to detail and love for the craft.
“I have long had a passion and interest in making furniture from my time as a child,” says Patrick.
“From these experiences, I've had a desire to use my hands in a creative way, to create things that are beautiful but functional.”
What inspired Patrick’s award-winning coffee table at Fringe Festival
“I have a real interest in arts and crafts furniture; due to its focus on functionality, strength and respect for craftmanship, while using quality materials.
“I also love Scandinavian furniture for its simple classic lines and shapes.”
At Holmesglen, Patrick’s experienced furniture teachers helped the student turn his vision into a quality furniture piece with advice, industry insights and encouragement.
“I wanted to meet the brief of designing a coffee table that had not just design and aesthetic appeal, but real functionality while being appropriate for a young family.
“Hence its curved corner designs and strong timber construction utilising solid timbers. The coffee table was a merging of these ideals.”
What skills do furniture designers need?
Leading furniture designers look at the design, finish, fashion and functionality of any piece. They need practical and technical skills and to look at both sustainability and ergonomics.
Patrick used a range of skills to create his award-winning furniture design. At Holmesglen, he learned how to:
- safely use woodwork machinery, such as the panel saw, lathe, thicknesser and surface planer
- follow a design process
- create scale-size working drawings to reference from.
“The skills I learned at Holmesglen have given me the confidence to utilise various woodworking machines and tools to complete such a piece of furniture.
“Holmesglen also fostered my confidence to experiment and encouraged me to push the boundaries and try new techniques that I had not previously seen.”