Designer Edge with Cathy Jack Coupland

Sydney artist Cathy Jack Coupland goes with her instinct when choosing a colours for her art quilts. And the upshot is a glorious feast of eye-candy colour. by Janai Velez

For her work with circles, she packs in as much visual punch as possible. “Vibrant, passionate, colourful, original and unique” is how she accurately puts it.



Make this charming cushion with appliqué forest mushrooms!

“I work intuitively. I have studied colour and its application in design, and I think that’s the key. You have to understand how colour works with the other elements and principles of design,” says Cathy Jack Coupland.  “Even though I teach colour, I am still learning, and I hope that never stops,”



Our A Day In The Park Quilt is sweet and colourful!

The starting point is to cover a base of acrylic felt with free machine embroidery, using rayon and polyester threads. “I stitch onto two layers of felt using two threads. It is beautiful to stitch into, since the thread goes into it like butter.” Then comes the dimension, created by the sumptuous density of stitches that adds depth, texture and shimmer. “There are so many stitches, they eventually manipulate and distort the felt base. I can see it happening almost immediately when working with circles. The larger the circle, the more the work will distort. Why do I love this? Because colour is all about light, and light hits those delightful emerging circles at different angles,” says Cathy Jack Coupland. “With correct lighting, the work just shines.”



Create this beautiful decorative appliqué quilt, the Minerva Quilt!

You’d think that an artist of this calibre would be working on the latest, strongest, most hi-tech equipment, but not so with Cathy Jack Coupland, who for years has created wonders on her mother’s 40-year-old Bernina sewing machine, before updating last year to a Bernina 720. And thus encouraged, she has big plans for future works: “I really want to work larger, as scale is such a visual component, especially for what I do. I adore the process – idea/inspiration, drawing (and redrawing), problem solving and finally working and finishing. There is something deeply satisfying in realising a piece of work from a spark or a light-bulb moment. I do tend to jump from idea to idea, but that’s just me.”

Blending a mass of threads into a magical artwork is more than a day’s work for Cathy Jack Coupland. It is her passion and the trigger for her creativity. “It’s a left-brain/right-brain thing. Time is irrelevant,” she says. “The feeling of designing and making a piece of work you know is good and that others also say is good is beyond words. I don’t know why, since I do what I do for myself, not for others.”

For more information and a gallery of other works, visit Cathy Jack Coupland’s website,

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