Her dad, who refurbished guitars, taught her to work with tools. Her mom worked another angle, instilling a passion for wildlife. Every birthday, Mel Bennett asked for a new pet: “My mom always allowed me to have them.” Her dad wasn’t so eager — “but he always ended up loving them too,” she says.
Unlike many makers who discover Craft City as adults, Bennett grew up surrounded by Asheville arts culture and the gallery scene. “I yearned to be a part of it,” she says. At first she doubted herself. Now, though, being a Western North Carolina native, “I know where my work will likely prosper better and fit in,” she points out.