Classroom 101: Helpful Hints for Applying

I mentioned in my last post that I came to the crafting community through an interest in making things. As often as we might say that we make things for ourselves, I think that most of us also want other people to see what we’ve created. We show and share it with our family and friends, but there comes a point when we want more. So how did I get out of my basement and start meeting people? Well there are actually several routes to “fully realized craft enlightenment”. Let me tell you about this one… becoming a vendor in an art Co-op.

Fusion recently had its first quarter Open House for 2012. Basically, this is a fancy way of saying we had a party and anybody who was interested in being a vendor or consigner in the shop was invited.  I love open houses, because I get to meet new people, and see a lot of really cool art work.  Oh, and there’s wine and food too which is awesome. Artists often come into the shop asking about how to become a vendor, and I always steer people towards these events. Don’t forget that you’re not just making stuff and sending it out into the world, but you’re also becoming part of a community. This is  an opportunity to meet the working artists,  ask any questions you may have, and show some of your work. Remember that while you are likely going in planning on selling yourself and your work, we are doing the same thing. The Open House allows us all to get to know each other and to decide whether we’re a good fit.

Fusions applications go live the day after the Open House. Basically, it’s looking for Who you are, What you sell, and Where we can see it. The hardest part of this for me was condensing what I had to say where I’m coming from and what I do as a crafter into 150 words. It’s important to make this information as clear, simple and brief as you can here at the beginning. That way, when you’re asked “So, what do you do?” at every event, family gathering, and high school reunion, you can tell people about the AWESOME work you create without stuttering and saying um, too much. This is also called your “elevator pitch”, because it should tell everything you need to say in the amount of time it takes to go from one floor to the next in an elevator.

I talked last week about Pinterest being a great place to show the work you’d like to be doing. Sort of a map to your style. Well, what about what you’re doing now? Where do you show that? From the comments:

“I currently do not have a website but would love to up load some images so you can see my work. Can you tell me how I can do this?”

There are a lot of options out there for showing your work online, and I strongly recommend that anyone working in the art field have a web presence to share it. Personal, dedicated websites are great, and really should be the ultimate goal of our internet efforts, but if you’re starting from scratch I think I’d start a little smaller.  A public photo album on Facebook with a few examples of your artwork is a great place to start. Most of us share photos there anyway, so it’s easy, free, and accessible to anybody who has a Facebook account.  A couple other (free) places are Flickr, DeviantArt, and ConceptArt.org.  All of these are existing art communities where you can get to know other people, share your work, and even get feedback.

There are also a lot of artists who just have a blog. This lets them showcase what they are currently working on, as well as engage their viewers by talking about inspiration, process, and techniques…or just show the work if that’s all they want to do.  It’s like the wild west out there.  Ha-ha-ha!

Lastly, I can’t stress this enough. Make your work as easy to find for people as you can. The rest of the application is vital information, but if there is no link to photos of your work, most people will just skip your application. If the link to your page is mistyped and doesn’t work…What I’m saying is, this is your job. This is your business. Once you take it out of your basement, and into the real world, crafting stops being just a hobby.

I’m so glad to be a part of this community, and the people involved are so great about helping each other out. We all want each other to succeed, and that’s the great thing about joining a co-op. We’re all in this together, and we all get out of it what we put into it. Do you have any stories about your trip from your crafting closet into the big wide world? Please leave us a comment, we’d love to hear them!

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