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Driftwood Directors

Driftwood comprises of 5 other directors as well as the founder of Driftwood Studio David Nixon. All the Directors bring different creative elements to Driftwood working to establish a physical base for Driftwood Studio. With the aim of supporting the development of creative projects with, personal, public and professional aims.

Driftwood Directors

Andrew Croft

Andrew (AKA The Troubled Photographer)

Andrew is a professional photographer living in Bury,  Manchester. Andrew provides portrait, headshots, commercial and fine art photography. I’ll let him tell his story.

Hi there, my dad said “If a job’s worth doing it’s worth doing properly or not at all.” he was the senior keyboard technician for Steinway & Son in the UK, and the army taught me Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Pi** Poor Performance. Like with anything I now do, I put my heart and soul into making sure all the planning and preparation are done to get you the perfect pictures that you deserve.

The name The Troubled Photographer comes from having a mental health breakdown caused by a traumatic experience some time ago. During a meeting with a therapist, she asked “What do you like doing in your free time?” after some time my response was “I used to like photography” That’s when I picked up a camera again. This became my therapy and brought me back on an even keel, I started taking pictures many years ago with my first camera an Olympus Trip 35 and then when I was nearly 16 my dad bought me a used Praktica Super TL3

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

-Ansel Adams -

For more information about Andrew, please visit his page here.

Erica Pham Art

Erica Pham Art

Erica Pham is undoubtedly a contemporary creative with a passion for exploring the corners of the world, escaping to the depths of the soul and contemplating the beauty of the mundane parts of life. Inspired by all of life’s experiences internally and externally and transforming them into powerful poetry and vibrant mixed media paintings. Expressed through the lens of romance, nostalgia, beauty and joy.

Having always known I was put on this earth to do something meaningful, I have made it my life’s mission to spread beauty and highlight the joy that is to be had in everyday life. This is something that I experience and express in an infinite amount of ways, but mainly through painting and writing.

Despite spending a lifetime chasing the “big” milestones and achievements, my most profound realisations have always happened during deep appreciation for the present moment. Those moments that most of us would consider seemingly mundane and meaningless.

During the 2020 pandemic, I found myself back in the very place I tried so hard to run away from, and from there, I uncovered my hidden flair for artistry and never looked back. My creative inspiration stems from the direct result of my experiences in the physical and metaphysical world. Although I never intended to choose a life of art, it was clear that I found my true purpose.

Through my work, you will explore the nooks and crannies of the world, escape to the depths of the soul and contemplate the simple moments through a lens of beauty, romance, nostalgia and joy.

I hope that by sharing parts of me, I can ignite the parts of you that are waiting to come to light.

For more information on Erica Pham Art visit her website here.

Madeleine Howard
Madeleine Howard

Madeleine (MA, PGCE) is a trained English teacher and published writer with over four years experience bringing creativity into the classroom. Her discipline is words and stories: the way poetry in performance connects the rhythmic awareness of the body with the memories and ideals of the thinking mind; the human need to shape our histories into plots replete with exquisite detail; the way studying literature allows us to see a centuries-long thread of truth, from the yearning, open-hearted anonymous poets of early medieval Britain to the universal human messiness of Shakespeare to the radical stake to the heart that is the Gothic novel to today’s ever-shifting and increasingly democratic landscape of publication. Literature is her art form.

Madeleine’s creativity is practised in mentorship more than artistry: she is first and foremost a professional teacher with a fundamental belief that play and expression will save us. However, Madeleine chose in 2023 to take a sabbatical from full-time teaching for six months and explore her abilities as a writer, which led her to events where she met some wonderful people, including the other Driftwood Directors. She belongs to Driftwood because she believes wholeheartedly that creativity blooms when we work together, teach one another what we know, and see ourselves as existing within a collective.

In January 2024, Madeleine returned to teaching English in a Sixth Form College. She has continued privately tutoring as well, and should be able to offer this service to new students in the next couple of months. Her energy is first and foremost given to teaching teenagers and supporting their ambitions and goals, encouraging them to explore their own skills and creative potential. Nevertheless, Madeleine’s own creative aims for 2024 are to continue writing and add to her publication record of poetry and prose, working with other creatives to combine words, illustration and photography to document the people and places of Manchester, her home.

Michelle Ayavoro
Michelle Ayavoro


Michelle is a Manchester based textile artist and facilitator. Her work is inspired by pattern, colour, music and nature to promote justice and equality in society. During Lockdown Michelle started creating hand sewn textile portraits inspired by the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The bold and vibrant hand sewn textile art is created using appliqué, screen printing and embroidery. Michelle also uses creative knowledge and skills to empower people facing significant challenges. She has 20 years’ experience designing and delivering community arts projects, bringing people together to be uplifted, inspired and proud.

In 2021, she designed and delivered a step-by-step online textile art project, teaching people who had no experience in textiles, to create their own hand-stitched Black Icon portrait.

Michelle’s pieces were exhibited at HOME, Manchester and are now on permanent display at The Curve, Prestwich.

Through this work, Michelle has developed a rich and diverse portfolio of creative projects that enable people to connect, explore and express their creativity.

For more information about Michelle click here.

David Brown
Dave Brown


I spent 35 years in operations management, mostly in the aerospace industry. It didn’t really suit me and that took me a long time to work out. I did learn some pretty important skills though.

I’m now pursuing a more creative life. I’m a coach. I do a podcast. I make costume jewellery.

My podcast is called The Bullshit Detective. I do a daily episode called ‘A Dose of Dave’. An unscripted, unplanned stream of consciousness.

Simplification is my thing. Simplification of thoughts. Simplification of life. To distil it down to what really matters.

Denise Bradshaw
Denise Bradshaw

Denise Bradshaw is the owner of Healey Dell Craft Centre