Meet the Beach Creative team
Co-Founder & Volunteer Lead on Sustainability and the Environment
Mandy is one of the three founding directors of Beach Creative. She graduated with a BA from Boston College in Boston, Massachusetts in 1984.
After a career in marketing she became a full-time artist in 2000. She paints seascapes, landscapes and portraits. Her work is in collections of private individuals and corporations in England, France, South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, United Arab Emirates and the United States.
Carla, in the past, has worked in the NHS, private sector and education in London and various parts of the country, latterly working in General Practice in the Canterbury area.
As Carla's two sons grew up and followed an interest in art both obtaining Fine Art Degrees, Carla also became interested in art. Her youngest son continued his artistic endeavours and six years ago rented a studio at Beach Creative. Always wanting to support her sons Carla immersed herself into the art scene around Beach Creative and her interest and opinions on the subject of art have continued to grow.
Carla has now taken on the role of administrator and is looking forward to contributing to the day to day running of Beach Creative.
Administrative Assistant & Social Media
Ellie Walker has joined us as Administrative Assistant, supporting Carla and helping to ensure the day to day running of Beach Creative.
Ellie has just completed a Diploma in Fine Art at Canterbury College, specialising in Printmaking with monoprinting as her specialism.
The focus of her work has been climate change, looking at pollution and it’s effects on the Earth and the eco system.
Co-Founder & Director Education & Outreach
Gill is one of the three founding members of Beach Creative and plays an active role in community outreach. A former University for the Creative Arts (UCA) senior lecturer, Gill still works closely with UCA to deliver outreach programmes within the local community., such as the very successful Cultural Ambassador course which has supported participants to step into further or higher education for the first time.
Gill’s first degree was in graphic design and she ran a design business for over 20 years - spanning the move from analogue to digital - before she became involved in education. She taught at UCA for many years, teaching across arts disciplines and age/levels. She has a Doctorate in Education and led the Research Units for the Master of Arts in Creative Arts Education at UCA for 3 years.
As well as teaching, she was involved in the political landscape of widening participation in the arts in education with Aimhigher, and worked as a consultant for the Specialist Schools and Academies and Learning and Skills Network in the last Labour government. She was an author for Pearson Education, writing Student/Teaching Guides in arts qualifications. She has a studio at her home and works across disciplines.
Gabi is a Mixed Media Fine Artist working in both 2D and 3D who has been practicing for 30 years. She has an artist studio at the Sun Pier House Artist Community which she joined in February 2020.
Gabi trained and worked as a Fashion Designer in her first career, and still loves to work with fabric, experimenting with its 3-dimensional potential. She also works with found objects, since discovering the joys of mud larking on the Kent coast and estuaries. Living in Whitstable overlooking the Sea for 22 years, she uses the water and light there, as a constant source of inspiration.
Another great source of inspiration to her has been her students at the University for the Creative Arts where she has worked as a Senior Lecturer on the Foundation Diploma for 18 years. She is currently the Pathway leader in Fashion and Textiles at the Canterbury campus.
For 8 years she worked as an art teacher for East Kent Mental Health Trust, and she is currently studying a counselling and psychotherapy course and is interested in the use of holistic therapeutic approaches to wellbeing with a cognitive approach to facilitate positive change including therapeutic arts, crafts, and music.
Co-Founder & Director
One of the three founding Directors of Beach Creative in 2012 and responsible for the gallery bookings, and day to day running of the Beach Creative building and our sister gallery, Bay Art Gallery.
Since gaining her fine arts degree at the Kent Institute of Art and Design (now UCA), Mandy have worked chiefly as a sculptor with a specialism in perspex and plastics.
David studied Fine Art at St Alban’s College of Art and the West of England College of Art between 1967 and 1971, successfully avoiding any idea of a career in favour of a life of serial enthusiasms. Including: printer, furniture maker, graphic designer, illustrator, exhibition designer, shop owner, builder and decorator and finally exhibition officer for Canterbury Museums.
A founder member of the steering group for Herne Bay’s Duchamp Festival 2013, curating all the exhibitions during the award winning three-week event. Over the years, David has appeared in various group shows both in Kent and Cornwall (UK). He has work in a number of private collections.
EIRINN HAYHOW Combines notions of science, philosophy and spirituality as she reconnects people to the earth. She creates magical gender fluid garments, using wellbeing magic, wild foraging and bio design to create unique garments. With each collection she builds a new world, one that evokes all senses to show the viewer the power of our natural world. She creates her own dyes and plant inks from foraging herbs, plants and berries and using fruit and vegetable waste. She grows her own bio leather and bio plastics using herbs, fruit, vegetables waste coffee granules and crystals. Her latest collection PLANTASIA launched at The Crypt Gallery on the 20th September.
'We are all made up of the same atoms and energetic particles. Everything on this earth is made up of the same energy. Tuning into our hearts can help us communicate with plants as they communicate at the same energetic level. remember you are magic '
EIRINN HAYHOW continues to research innovative ways to produce materials from natural resources, she was the first designer to create couture pieces from her grown vegan leather from waste coffee granules.
A pioneer in sustainable fashion, she continues to push the boundaries of innovative material production, using specific healing properties in an attempt to heal the wearer from anxiety, depression and other nervous disorders.
Sam Giles is a street artist and mural painter from Chatham. After spending his adolescence going into abandoned buildings and painting walls all day, he formed his art alias DREAM SAFARI. Who would’ve thought it would lead to a career in the arts?
Sam has been freelancing for local art organisations and social enterprises since the age of 16, and is now making public art ‘legally’ for people to enjoy. Most recently creating a mural of the late Queen for her jubilee. Sam has also created video mapped murals for the last two Medway Night Lights festivals.
As well as his 2D work, Sam has been creating carnival builds, fire sculptures and costumes for 15 years. His community driven projects have taken him all across the UK, including working as an art director for BFI short films about young people and mental health.
Sam's alternative creative workshops enable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to develop new ideas and address challenges. Collage is one of his favoured media forms and has been crucial to his project led work, with meditative zine making sessions becoming a staple workshop.
His other collaborative projects include the LOSER GANG collective. Predominantly a t-shirt brand and art collective, using DIY aesthetics from skateboarding, graffiti and underground music.
Sam is a sessional tutor at UCA and has a studio at The Margate School.
Communications & Finance
Francesca completed a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at University for the Creative Arts Canterbury before going on to specialise in Photography for her Bachelor of Arts at Arts University Bournemouth.
Initially gaining work experience in fashion and lifestyle photography, assisting and production, her career path moved into arts education, returning to work at UCA Canterbury for a number of years within the Lens Based specialism and as a workshop facilitator.
Francesca went on to work within programme coordination at Ideas Test, a Creative People and Places project before becoming coordinator for the Anglo-French Art, Society, Nature Fine Art Masters Programme at The Margate School.
Francesca is very excited to have recently joined the Beach Creative Team, becoming a part of the organisation's next steps in developing communications and marketing. Having grown up locally to the area and now also raising her baby daughter, Francesca is invested in Beach Creative's future as a thriving community centre for creativity and wellbeing.
Denise has supported Beach Creative from the beginning in 2012, first as an employee.
Although she had not had a formal Arts education at the time, she was clearly an extremely talented and versatile artist, working across a variety of media. She chose to do our Cultural Ambassadors course which is funded by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) and progressed from here to study on the Access Course, then BA (Hons) course in Fine Art, graduating with a first-class honours degree in 2019 pictured here (centre) surrounded by her family at her graduation at the Royal Festival Hall.
She is now a regular tutor on the Cultural Ambassadors course, very popular with participants, and continues to encourage and support others.
She is a regular exhibitor at Beach Creative and also works as a volunteer.
Ali is a professional Upholster, furniture upcycler, artist and educator.
A former Functional Skills English tutor running courses in English and employability for young people not in education or training. With a history of working with young people with behaviour and emotional difficulties Ali completed a BA Supporting Young People and Young People Services at CCCU and went on to work in Information Advice and Guidance to support young people to overcome barriers including mental health, exclusion and behaviour preventing them from accessing education and training.
After working in the education sector for many years Ali took her career in a creative direction by studying Upholstery at Shoreditch Design Rooms and completing an AMUSF qualification. She went on to start The Cabinet of Million Dollar Ali where she creates soft furnishings and upholstery. She has a passion for creating resin art and Lino printing.
She has been at Beach Creative for many years and facilitates on the Cultural Ambassadors courses for both adults and young people.
Mike has been a Beach Creative Studio Resident since 2012, and has been actively involved in a number of local arts projects. Born and educated in Chatham and Rochester, Mike Harrison initially trained in computer programming before completing a Foundation Course at Canterbury College and subsequent BA in Fine Art at Exeter College of Art and Design where he graduated with a BA(Hons) in Painting and Photography.
With an employment history ranging from managing community arts initiatives to delivering IT solutions across the world in major cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Moscow. Mike has worked as a Business Analyst for DHL in their Europe, Middle East and Africa regional office and has delivered many IT projects across the NHS including project managing the
deployment of technical solutions to ambulance services as part of the roll-out of the NHS 111 service.
Mike started The Bloop Troop street theatre project - the first community arts project in the Medway Towns in conjunction with Strood Social Services’ Intermediate Treatment Service, and built on its success by developing community photography and screen-printing projects. Becoming heavily involved in the establishment of Arts in Medway, he set up and ran the Medway Children's Circus. He has served on the South-East Arts Community Arts panel where he was involved in evaluating funding applications and subsequently visiting successful Ars projects across the South-East to monitor progress and spend.
Director & Treasurer
Ray was born in Herne Bay and has spent most of his life here. Most of his working life was with Lloyds Bank, in East Kent and South London. He happily took early retirement when he was a Branch Manager and for 9 years he was then Practice Manager at a large local Doctor’s surgery. He has always been involved in the local community. For over twenty years he was a member of the Herne Bay Rotary Club and during that time he was Treasurer, Secretary, and President. He has been a Trustee of the Strode Park Foundation for ten years, and stood down last November (2021). He was Chair of the Board of Management for seven of those years. During his time there, the Foundation grew from one site with an income of just over £4 million to five sites with an income of £11 million. It was a busy, challenging and very rewarding time.
He has many interests and is a long-time member of the Ramblers Association. He has served five-year periods as both Secretary and Chair of the Canterbury group. He still leads walks with them and he also leads walks in the Canterbury Festival and the Canterbury Walking Week.
He has always been a keen gardener and has had an allotment for twenty years. It was through that he became involved with Herne Bay in Bloom and he has been Treasurer of that since its formation.
He has always enjoyed sport and still plays golf locally.
His family have had a beach hut here since 1950 and much of his childhood was spent there. Now he loves to be down there with his family and see his grandchildren also enjoying it. He has swum in the sea since an early age and continues to do so, although only when it is a bit warmer.
He has been a supporter of Beach Creative since it started and could not resist the opportunity to help in a more pro-active way. He thinks it meets a need in the community and we are very lucky to have it. He is delighted to be part of it.
Claire started out in photography and photo processing after leaving school before embarking on a career in retail management for over 20 years. During that time she specialised in pharmacy and qualified a dispenser.
Claire is interested in Art & Design and is a keen crafter, specialising in Needlework crafts and Mixed Media. She is enjoying trying new Art disciplines and is currently studying at UCA following on from participating in the Cultural Ambassador’s Course.
Some of Claire’s other hobbies include reading and creative writing. She also enjoys volunteering locally for a creative wellbeing support community and is really excited to be working with the Beach Creative team.