Spotlight | Cathy Penton Atelier

an internationally recognised designer on our doorstep

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cathy penton has a genuine passion for small, beautiful details.

It’s possibly what makes her such a talented designer – or at least it helps! For almost two decades, Cathy has made a living as a creator of gorgeous things – from designing for magazines to owning a retail store to creating her own range from her home in Meringandan. We have loved Cathy’s work for years, before we even realised the local connection (the joys of Instagram!). Her signature lines of hand-embroidered linen and charms frequently grace the pages of Country Style, as have her beautiful home restorations.

We met up with Cathy in her atelier to learn about her local favourites.

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Name: cathy penton
KNOWN FOR: beautiful embroidered linen cushion covers that frequently grace the pages of Country Style magazine
Occupation: designer
Born: lismore, nsw
Local since: 1989

how did you come to be in toowoomba?

I grew up on a small dairy farm 20 minutes from the ocean in northern NSW, and moved to Richmond with my high school sweetheart where we lived for three and a half years. He secured his dream job in Toowoomba and I remember us both looking at each other as we got out of our car on a very brisk seven degree day, thinking “where have we moved to?!” A year later we found a little timber railway cottage that needed a lot of love. Now married, we’ve raised two beautiful children and this year will make 30 years here.

What is the Cathy Penton Atelier?

It’s an online store selling products that I love plus my creations, which consist of custom soldered charms and hand-embroidered soft furnishings. I have been designing and making for most of my adult life, from designing bespoke pieces of jewellery to doing sewing projects for print publications. I think what I love the most is making people feel special. I want my customers to feel like they are getting a present in the mail that is just for them, so always handwritten notes and pretty packaging is a must. All the little details are so important.

What does an average day look like for you?

Early start with replying to emails and a social media post. Brekky, usually in bed whilst writing my to-do list for the day ahead. Then I walk next door to my studio where I could be making soldered charms all day or filling my online orders for my store. Today I am working on an order of custom made cushion covers for an inn that is being restored in Tasmania. No two days look exactly the same, which is one of things I love about it.

What does your ideal Toowoomba weekend look like?

Always a long slow breakfast on a Saturday at Ortem, whether it’s with family, friends or just the two of us. A movie at the Strand Cinema with my daughter or enjoying a production or a concert at the Empire Theatre. Sundays are for slow drives in the countryside, maybe even a walk or picnic at Ravensbourne.

Only a Toowoomba local would know…

The sweet board at Ortem is the best way to start the weekend.


PERK UP: getting in the car, winding the windows down and exploring some of the country roads around Toowoomba with your camera.

RELAX: Queens Park, a blanket and a favourite book.

EAT: the sweet special board at Ortem, especially when it involves pancakes.

INDULGE: the movies, popcorn and something chocolatey.

SHOP: I adore flowers, so Heritage Flowers or the Toowoomba Flower Market.

CATCH UP: Ortem, Chocolate Cottage and Parkhouse Café are our go to places for meeting up with family and friends.

BE INSPIRED: Exploring all the street art in Toowoomba. What incredibly talented humans they are.

See Cathy’s beautiful work here, or follow her on Instagram here.


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