Have you met Ashley Bennet?
Design. Italian Greyhounds. Backyard Chickens. Dine & Draw CLT.
Hi! Have you met Ashley Bennet?
Back in January not too long after the first #weloveclt speaker series event I was sitting at Tiny Giant Conf with Blair Primis eating lunch. Ashley, who we both didn’t know at the time asked if the seat next to us was taken. She sat down and we got to talking about design, Charlotte, working remotely, exploring, meeting new people and more. Much of what she said about Charlotte and connecting with people aligned with everything #weloveclt is about. We left off inviting her to come to the next event. Her RSVP came through less than ten minutes later and since then she’s pretty much been to every single one. So awesome. I love this chance meeting because all it took was being open to meeting someone new and having a conversation. 8 months later I’m honored to call Ashley a friend.
What’s Ashley up to now? She’s the creative force behind Dine & Draw Charlotte. What is D&D? In her words…
“A fun and social group for creatives looking to get back in touch, or stay in touch with drawing. Bring your sketchbooks to practice illustrating, doodling, lettering; and meet and learn from others who want to do the same. As an added bonus we’ll be enjoying some awesome food and drinks around Charlotte at the same time! All fields and skill levels welcome. Even if you THINK you can’t draw, come anyway and learn to be creative in new ways!”
I absolutely love any concept that gets people together in real life to learn from each other. It’s smart and creates an environment that’s welcoming and promotes learning. Ashley is on to something here. Get more details on Dine & Draw here. The next event is tonight! (September 16, 2015)
Also, ask her about her chickens. They’re adorable. I asked Ashley 6 questions. Her answers are below.
What are you most passionate about?
Creating! Making, designing, drawing. It’s been something I’ve been doing for as long as I can remember. Now between a full-time web design job, a freelance design business, and personal projects, I literally get to create all day. There’s something so satisfying being able to help someone visualize their ideas, or getting to put something from your own imagination onto a tangible piece of paper. I’m not just passionate about creating my own designs though. Creating community, friendships – I’m all about those things.
What would you like to see happen in Charlotte over the next 5-10 years?
I’d love to see a thriving design community here. I’ve been to other cities with a really supportive, helpful group of creatives and tons of design events. I want that in my backyard, it makes us all better. That’s one of the reasons why I started up Dine and Draw Charlotte. I’m definitely starting to see a shift from when I was growing up here though. Groups like Cultivate Creatives and CreativeMornings are popping up, AIGA Charlotte is doing some really cool things lately. So I’m very optimistic this can happen in the next five years!
If you had a superpower what would it be and why?
Animal Whisperer. Seriously, my life would be complete if I could just talk to my dogs and chickens. Though, not currently having this super power doesn’t stop me from trying.
What made you want to live in Charlotte?
I’m actually a rare Charlotte native! My husband and I were living in Durham for the past few years, but our families live in Charlotte, so we knew we wanted to end up back here eventually. When my husband had the opportunity to return to Charlotte for work, we seized it! Other than family, there’s so much opportunity in Charlotte to start something and make an impact. That’s why I’m choosing to stay here.
How do you think people would describe you?
Ambitious. Smiley. Adventurous. Animal Obsessed. Craft Queen.
What’s your greatest indulgence?
Sitting on my couch with my Iggy’s (Italian Greyhounds), sipping on a cold glass of Dr. Pepper, binging bad 90s television (think Melrose Place, Ally McBeal, 7th Heaven).
What’s one question you’d like to ask anybody?
If you could only go to one local brewery for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
Get in touch with Ashley on Twitter at @aabennet.
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