photo use

Re -writing your maker profile


Use by date roll

Your maker profile should have a use by date on it. Go read yours and I bet you will find it doesn’t reflect the way you think of yourself or your current work.

Hate writing about yourself? TOUGH its some thing you need to do, so read some pointers and get it done.

The good news is

Good profiles are SHORT because as Scott Berkun  says

Assume with each word in your bio that fewer and fewer people will keep reading. It’s a great assumption because it’s true.

The average visitor spends 15 seconds on a page; then they click  so put the key info in that first short paragraph

strikethrough

WRITE IT, CUT IT and  CUT IT AGAIN.

Then make a list of what it tells the reader as a check to see if you have actually ended up saying anything.

When you are working on a maker profile where you can’t add pictures you must state the obvious. Say you are a potter/ textile artist/ whatever;  as web visitors all have Attention Deficit Disorder: they are on your page but often can’t remember  why.  So ground them.

You think you have a more dedicated reader? Well you don’t, the days of sitting quietly in front of a great big computer gently browsing have gone. At least 70% of your views will be on mobiles. Your reader is probably on the bus surrounded by other people’s one-sided phone conversations; passengers  getting on and off, they are late and have just realised they have sat next to a drunk. It’s not that you do not have their undivided attention, it is more likely you don’t have any of their attention.

So be calm, be clear and don’t waste their time

Do not do this

“Hello to you and thank you for reading this bit.
Please note I own the copyright on all of my images used for my greeting cards or prints. So, this is where I get to talk about me.”

I AM OUT OF HERE

Do do this

“I am an illustrator/designer, I specialise in creating modern images with a quirky mid-century feel. My preferred mediums are screen-printing and collage using vintage fabrics. I also produce my designs as digital Giclee prints in limited editions.”

CONFIDENT, FOCUSED, CLEAR

My work is inspired by living in Cornwall, being out everyday in the Cornish countryside and along the coastline with my labradoodle Rufus, foraging for seasonal treats, fishing and growing my own fruit and veg. In my work I seek to evoke the simple pleasures of life here by the sea with a sense of style and humour.”

A GLIMPSE OF HER LIFE THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO BUY INTO

A bio answers two basic questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” It should also act as bridge between the viewer and the artist. The first paragraph answers the who and what and 2nd builds the bridge. It is  a very well done and efficient profile.

Unimprovable? No, I can cut 20 words from that 2nd paragraph and loose nothing:

“My work is inspired by  being on the Cornish coast  with my Labradoodle Rufus; foraging , fishing and growing my own fruit and veg.  In my work  I seek to evoke these simple pleasures with style and humour.”

That’s why I said earlier, Write it, cut it and CUT it AGAIN

3D man reading longl list.

  NO LISTS PLEASE

This is why:

“I have been taking photographs throughout my career and creating photo images for most of my life.(WE ALL HAVE) My photographs have been used in Company brochures, Universities, Advertising, presentations to the NHS, BIFM, Access Association, accessibility brochures and flyers, and elsewhere.”

(IGNORING THE WEIRD CAPITALS, WHO CARES?)

“I was taught to knit as a child by my Mum.  I knit to relax, and I love making things. I enjoy knitting with different yarns, recycled sari silk, recycled cotton and wool, banana yarn etc. The different textures and colours are great. An example of items I enjoy knitting are, egg and tea cosies, mug hugs, flower brooches, cushion covers, and things to keep you cosy.”

You are with me now aren’t you? Definitely NO LISTS

3D business man

DON’T CONFUSE FRIENDLY WITH AMATEUR

Friendly expert makers can command a decent price. Friendly amateur ones have to charge peanuts

“I live in Xshire and I’m currently unemployed. I love making my crafts in the mean time and will continue to look for a job that pays £40,000 a year that allows me to mess about with glitter.”

 She might as well say “I am selling tat “

TELL THE TRUTH, BUT NOT ALL OF IT and DON’T BE AN APOLOGIST

cot full of children

  DO NOT WRITE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY they are irrelevant

This sort of thing is not re-enforcing your  standing as a maker so don’t use it

“When my children flew the nest I took up /potting/ sewing / rope wrangling”

It screams amateur and don’t talk about your disabilities either, people fear you will be unreliable

It’s not that you can’t write about these things but do so in your blog not in your maker profile . Your maker profile is there to sell. Your blog is there to genuinely share your life.

ventriloquist

 WHICH PERSON SHOULD YOU WRITE IN?

Don’t do that terrible Christmas round robin  thing of swapping around,  you must be consistent otherwise you come across as evasive

Don’t use “we” you are not Ford Motors and also, if it’s actually just you, it is dishonest

If you write very well and are very confident “I” can work

Probably the best thing to do is to just use your first name if you are just starting out  and your full name if you are well established.

boastful man

HOW TO PRESENT YOURSELF AS EXPERT NOT BOASTFUL

 best bit advice on this comes from Douglas Detrick

“Avoid words like “best,” “greatest,” or “well-known,” which are opinions, and stick to factual phrases  like “Joe has performed in concert halls large and small throughout the Midwest and in New York.”

USE  LOTS OF PHOTOS  THEY INVOLVE THE READER BETTER THAN WORDS

photo use

 DESIGN YOUR PROFILE AROUND THE PHOTOS

Layer your photos, crop them, mix it up and make it look informal. Prepare your photos before you write your text then you will know what length you have, also the page is already looking great so you won’t be so intimidated by the task.

Its odd but viewers really think they are getting close to you through these pictures, you want to make them want your lifestyle so that they want to buy a little bit of it by having something you make.

use photos 2

Even if you are using a template that only allows one  picture cheat by doing a collage so its more lively and arresting. You want a fly on the wall feeling.

SAMPLE PROFILES FOr THE beginner and the established craftsperson

HOW TO WRITE YOUR PROFILE WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PUT IN IT

Sarah works in Dorset and specialises in knitwear for children using only natural wools from English flocks. Sarah makes traditional nostalgic pieces which stand up to the rough and tumble of childhood .She has a regular stall at Trollope Bottom market on the last Wednesday of the month.

To this you must add pictures. Perhaps a shot of  her stall, looking very English Calendar; a close up of her  knitting away, a pile of garments folded just to show the patterns, a bit of Dorset rolling countryside and some cute kids in a field walking away from the camera, all wearing her knitwear.

FOR THE WELL ESTABLISHED CRAFTSPERSON

Tom Makepiece is one of the foremost slipware potters in Scotland. His pieces are represented in many major collections including ….( not all, just two or three )
Tom works from a pottery deep in the hills of Mcshire using local clay and a traditional wood fired kiln

(Now quote your self on why you use a wood fired kiln or local clay)

“Only a fool  wood fires, it means 36 sleepless hours of stoking wood to build the temperature within the kiln and maintain it knowing all the time that your work is sitting in there a hostage to  fortune.

But it is capable of producing heart stopping lustres which no electric kiln could dream of. For me this is the heart of pottery and allows  my work to line up with the nameless medieval makers

I am striving not to make a pot but the pot the one that will ensure that my name will be up there with the greats ”

Tom Makepiece trained with the great Lucian Pole at the St Austell pottery and studied with the Japanese master Po in Pot.

He is represented by the Bond Street Snob Gallery and the Edinburgh Even More Snob Gallery

You will find Tom Makepiece each year at Art in Clay, ( name two top regulars) a full list here (link to page)

To this you add ( if possible) a Video of you making   and a handful of photos perhaps  of you at your wheel,  romantic night-time kiln tending,   at a gallery opening  and a trophy piece

 

If you are intrigued by the photographs then you can read my profile of the maker here  

If you want to upgrade your homepage there is a post on that here

 

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “Re -writing your maker profile

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      Annabel do get another photo taken the one you have is not convincing as artist at work It needs to be much more engaged in the task. The one you have is lady holds a paint brush in front of a shelf of her products. You want people to feel that they are a fly on the wall watching you making surrounded by the paints and work in progress.
      Also use technical language so don’t say you bake your glass say you fire it. I also feel there is no reason to tell the world you only started in 2012 having had another career. Just state what you do now.

  1. Leonor says:

    After reading your advise, I have gone and changed the About section of my site (hopefully for the better). Thanks, this was actually on my To Do list and you’ve given me the will to get it done!

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      Leonor I have just taken a look. I am sure its better than the one before but I still think you are presenting yourself as a hobbyist not an expert.

      You are an expert, your work shows that, so why the hesitancy to stand up and be counted? As far as I could see you do not even give your name. You hide behind ” I” and the Felt Buddies banner. I need to believe in you and that’s hard to do if I don’t actually know who you are.

      Saying how much you enjoy your work is relevant in an interview but not in a About piece, readers assume that craftspeople love their craft or else why would they do it?

      Let me see if I can start you off ..

      “Laura C is a well respected English needle felting artist who sculpts creatures in wire and felt in her studio in London.

      While many of her pieces are based on imaginary creatures, she is able to capture the likeness and personalities of individual pets in her wool felted sculptures.

      “Absolutely BRILLIANT item. Was bought as a Christmas gift for my mother who actually cried when she opened it! (and she doesn’t cry very easily!) My model looked exactly like our dog – from the markings on his nose to his puffy tail.”

    • Dixie Nichols says:

      I think its about the writer’s insecurities Andrew. They burrow down into familiar family stuff and become apologetic to fend off the ridicule they fear or they brass it out a la Apprentice

  2. Julie says:

    Well now, how timely is this?! Just at the point where I’m totally avoiding creating a page for a trade fair brochure and a profile page for a new website. Thank you once again for great advice!

Join in

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s