Furniture and product designer Tom Skeehan has won the $25,000 PATRÓN 60 Hands – Pay It Forward craftsmanship grant.
The aim of the grant is to help grassroots and community craftspeople in the Australian creative community grow their craft. The initiative received hundreds of applications from across Australia.
Skeehan is a Canberra-based craftsman and the designer behind design studio SKEEHAN. Trained as a furniture maker, he then studied industrial design, and it is this cross section of skills that makes his SKEEHAN designs so unique. With an approach to design that is honest and collaborative, Skeehan strives to create meaningful projects that add value to the community.
The announcement was made at Chiswick Restaurant in Sydney on Wednesday.
The PATRÓN 60 Hands initiative speaks to the fact that the spirit is handmade, with 60 hands needed to craft each bottle of the spirit. 60 Hands involved a national call out to those in the handmade fields of design, fashion and hospitality industries, and was about honouring and nurturing talented craftspeople, and helping them hone their abilities.
It was not only Skeehan’s skill as a craftsman that influenced both the grant judges and PATRÓN, but also his plans for the grant. He intends to put the $25,000 grant towards further project development and support manufacturers and other craft practitioners in his industry. The team at SKEEHAN are currently exploring ways to keep hand-blown glass manufacturing facilities and craft processes alive and viable in Australia, and hope to support this sector by developing projects that further evolve this craft and its legacy.
PATRÓN 60 Hands judge, design and architecture connoisseur and comedian, Tim Ross (pictured above with Skeehan) said: “It’s been wonderful to engage with the work and ethos of all the applicants, and I think it is great that Tom wants to share the grant in an area beyond his expertise.”
The runners up for the grant were Kenny Son (NSW), an object maker and designer specialising in metal craft, and Ben Devlin (NSW), the chef and owner of Pottsville restaurant, Pipit. Finalists included Keiko Matsui (VIC), Raffaele Persichetti (QLD), Zachary Hanna (NSW), Adrian Kaleel (NSW), Shari Lowndes (VIC) and Kate Caicedo (NSW).
“PATRÓN itself is a refined handcrafted spirit, so there is a great synergy between the craftsmanship of our tequila and these makers,” said Stephanie Sarantakos, PATRÓN Tequila Australia’s Brand Manager.
“We’re thrilled have Tom as the grant recipient and look forward to seeing him use this opportunity to also pay it forward to handcrafted industries,”
“We saw entries from a wide range of crafts from makers across Australia, and we’re delighted by the positive response we’ve received from the creative community for this initiative. The judges spent a lot of time deliberating over the applications, and we’re grateful for their commitment to this initiative,” continued Stephanie.
Pictured main: Tom Skeehan with his fellow PATRÓN 60 Hands – Pay It Forward runners up and finalists. Photography by Christian Gilles.