It's that time of the year: when craft shows all over the Midwest start opening themselves to floods of applications. I've manage juried shows since 2008, and a lot of applications have flown through my in box in these 5 years.
What I'm saying is: if you're looking for help with your application, you've got it.
The Three Weak Points on Your Application
Most applications for craft shows and juried art exhibitions only contain a few items, so it's important to work each item to your benefit.
Photos usually make or break an application. The good news is that you don't have to have fancy equipment to take better photos; just taking a little more time will make a big difference.
Good photos should clearly show the jury what you make, the breadth of your body of work, and give them an idea of how you'll fill a booth. If you have submitted to a show in the past you should try to include new photos (even if you've been accepted in the past!)
Be sure to:
- Take a lot of photos. Take photos and then take more photos and then take still more photos. Until you have a system down, plan to take at least 10 photos of each item. Try it with flash! Without flash! Over different backgrounds! Fill up the roll and then pick the best ones.
- Clear the background. Straighten the bedspread, move toys off the counter, do whatever you have to in order to make sure the only thing in the photos is your product.
- Get close! Make your product very large within the frame of the photo.
There are lots of free tools on the web to edit your photos, too. Crop, adjust contrast, and resize with tools like Aviary (which is also connected to Flickr).
How you describe your work
The two most common mistakes people make when talking about their work are 1. saying too much and 2. using fluffy words.
Keep your statement short. In 3-5 sentences tell the jurors what you make and why you're proud of it. Tell them why shoppers like your goods, and even a little about your goals. If it takes you more space that's fine -- just don't include your entire life story.
It can be hard to talk about what you make. If you get stuck, try describing your photos. Use literal words -- words like "whimsy" and "unique" usually don't convey a lot about what you make, how you make it, and your style.
This sounds silly, but it happens often enough it's worth mentioning: double-check all your information before you submit the application. If you slipped an extra letter in your email, you might never get that congratulations message!
Okay, I'mma take a nap. If you have questions about other parts of applications (ours, or another fair's!) leave them in the comments. When I wake up I'm gonna take a stab at the age-old question: "What was wrong with my application?!" and then maybe after that, something broader, along the lines of "What should I make that I can sell at craft fairs?"