Textiles and mixed media artist, Ettalong Beach
Based in Ettalong Beach, textile and mixed media artist Pi Williams is inspired by her coastal surrounds when creating her vibrant, abstract artworks. With a background in fine arts, Pi has worked across a variety of disciplines including watercolour, printmaking and acrylics, but now uses textural yarn and wool, mixed with tulle, leather and raffia to create whimsical sculptural pieces that reflect the Australian landscape. We chat to the talented artist about why she loves the Central Coast.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT THE COAST?
I love the general peacefulness of the Coast, discovering new walking trails and swimming at hidden beaches. Being surrounded by the Australian bush, rainforest and sandy stretches of beach gives me lots of inspiration for my work. It's a wonderful place that both adults and kids can enjoy with a variety of beaches to explore.
What do you love most about living on the Central Coast?
My home and studio are in Ettalong Beach, an easy walk to the foreshore. I love the general calm nature, the peacefulness, and the close proximity to a variety of beaches along the Coast.
What do you do in your downtime?
We like to walk and bike ride down to our local beach in Ettalong Beach and, in the warmer months, take short hikes around Bouddi National Park to the beaches that surround the area.
Where is the first place you’d take your guest when they visit the Coast?
I would take them to my local beaches: Ettalong Beach, Ocean Beach and Umina Beach. Most of our family and friends that visit have kids so we usually stick to places that both adults and kids can enjoy. We often head to The Box on the Water, because the food is lovely, it’s got great water views and there’s a playground right next door. It’s such a perfect setting and is a wonderful, place to catch up with friends and family.
What are your favourite local spots to shop?
Goddess by the Sea in Ettalong Beach and Little Wren Designs in Umina Beach are two of my favourites. They are both small boutique stores that have beautifully hand-picked gifts and homewares. I love going in there when I need to buy gifts for family and friends. I also love to browse the wares at markets. My favourites are Umina Beach Markets (third Sunday of every month) and the Avoca Beachside Markets. I love connecting with and seeing what other makers and creatives are producing and supporting them.
Where is your favourite spot for a morning coffee?
We have quite a few! We'll often pack something light for a picnic lunch but stop at Smoke on the Water cafe to load up on the best caffeine around and the staff are really friendly. It's also hard to go past Lords of Pour for a coffee and they also do a great breakfast.
Where do you head for dinner?
We have a young baby, so we don’t venture out to restaurants much right now. However, we do love to grab takeaway from BMX Burgers at Umina and Pizza Peddlers at Ettalong Beach.
Do you draw inspiration from the Central Coast for your art?
We love to explore the Central Coast’s national parks and discover new walking trails, and I find lots of inspiration for my work through these experiences. I love being surrounded by the Australian bush, rainforests and beaches, all at the same time. There are several trails that lead to hidden beaches, and we often set up a little base on the sand and have a picnic lunch followed by a swim (and perhaps a nap) before heading home.
What are your favourite hikes?
My favourite trail to walk is from MacMasters Beach to Little Beach [part of the Bouddi Coastal Walk in Bouddi National Park]. It's a 4WD track so it’s an easy walk but the beach is a wonder of rocky pools and vibrant, green seaweed. There is always a treasure trove of washed-up coral and shells amongst the rocks as well. The section from Little Beach to Maitland Bay is also beautiful along long sandy stretches of beach. My boys also enjoy hiking around Somersby Falls in the Brisbane Water National Park.
Describe a typical weekend day on the Central Coast for you.
After breakfast, we usually go for a walk or bike ride along Ettalong foreshore and will grab a coffee from one of our favourite cafés. We also love to pop into one of our local bakeries, such as Rise Artisan Bakery or MamiGato, a French bakery that only opens on the weekend. (If we venture further afield, we go to Burnt Honey in Copacabana.) I usually work in my home studio for the rest of the afternoon. If it’s a hot day, we make the most of daylight savings and venture to the beach after dinner for a quick dip.
Do you have any favourite art galleries?
There are so many wonderful galleries that help to inspire me. I really recommend the Gosford Regional Gallery, The Public Gallery at Centred Ceramics (they also hold workshops for adults and kids), and Alberts Line in Gosford, which is filled with wonderful, handcrafted gifts and art. There are also lots of small galleries that are on my list that I’m hoping to visit sometime soon.
What are you working on right now?
I will be spending the rest of the year experimenting with some new ideas; I have a block of clay at home as well as a new weaving loom which I can’t wait to play with. I also have some online and face-to-face workshops coming up this year that I am preparing for.
This article was written by Megan Arkinstall, with photography by James Horan, as part of the region's inspiring local Maker & Creator community supported by Love Central Coast.
At home on the Peninsula with Pi Williams...