How to Write Your Artist Bio

How to Write Your Artist Bio

If you’ve ever submitted a piece of jewelry to a magazine, book, or bead show, you’ve had to sit down and write a few sentences about yourself. “Oh, that’s easy!” might have been your first thought. But then you actually tried to do it. Chances are you couldn’t limit yourself to just three sentences. Or, worse yet, you couldn’t come up with that many! This seemingly simple exercise can quickly turn into something that causes a twinge in the neck. 

When I was editor at Beadwork magazine (which is, in my honest opinion, still the best beading magazine available on the market today!), designers often moaned about this part of their submission. I told them that bead enthusiasts the world over would be reading their projects and would want to know where the designer comes from and what they’re up to. That’s what makes us beaders a tight community, right? Plus, I reminded them that beading is an art form just like any other, so artists like us need to know how to do things like write short bios–it’s just part of the deal.

Writing an artist bio is also just good business, especially if you’re selling your work. Viki Lareau, author of Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry points out that “The goal [in writing a good bio] is to make that connection. The more someone knows about you, the artist, the more connected that person feels to you, and the more comfortable they will feel doing business with you.” She’s got it right–having a good bio is an important building block to creating an identity for your business. Buy Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry.

Necessity aside, there will still be those that are hopelessly stuck. For those of you, here are some tips to get started: 

K.I.S.S.
This is something my mom used to tell me all the time: Keep It Simple, Sugar! (She used to actually say “Stupid.”  It was funny if you knew my mom.) Since you only have a few sentences to work with, you can’t tell everything about yourself, so pack each sentence with your most important facts. Save the long soliloquies about your creative process for your blog and just list the whos, whats, wheres, and whens.

Shamelessly Plug
A short bio is like free advertising, so use the opportunity! Toot your horn about articles you’ve published, awards you’ve won, kits you sell, classes you teach, books you’ve written. Weave these bits of information into each sentence and make sure to include your website or email information for those who are eager to contact you about all the fabulous things you’ve done.

1-2-3 . . . Bio!
If you’re really struggling while you write your bio, try this Mad Libs-style exercise to get your brain flowing:

(Full name) is a (state)-based beadwork (profession or verb+er) who specializes in (list of two beading techniques). She is currently (verb+ing) a (noun) that will be (published/exhibited/for sale) in (date). You may contact (first name) at (website or email address).

Look at that! Instant bio! Well, perfect if you didn’t fill in the blanks to read something silly which, believe me, I have spent the last half hour doing. Actually, the bio I’ve been using lately doesn’t stray too far from this formula. Here it is:

“Jean Campbell is a beadwork designer and writer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She writes a weekly blog on www.beadingdaily.com, and teaches beading classes throughout the United States. Visit Jean’s website, www.jeancampbellink.com.”

Do you have a beading bio? Or maybe a new Mad-Libs one that’s cracking you up? Come on–share them on the website


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Michelle M.

About Michelle M.

I was the founding editor of Beading Daily (2007-2009) and my now a freelance designer/writer/editor.  My designs have been published in Stringing, Step by Step Beads, Jewelry Gifts for the Holidays, Creative Jewelry, Beadwork, and other magazines. I enjoy stringing, bead embroidery, wirework, metal work, mixed media, beadweaving—pretty much anything that involves beads or jewelry.  I also enjoy exploring new crafts like pottery and felting.  I write a personal blog if you want to see more of my work. 16+ Free Beading Projects: A list of the free projects I created for Beading Daily. Contact Info If you have a question regarding Beading Daily, please contact customer service at beadingdaily@interweave.com or the current editor, Kristal Wick. If you'd like to contact me, you'll find my info on my website:  www.michellemach.com.  You can also follow me on Twitter at:  http://twitter.com/beadsandbooks Pictured here is a pair of earrings I made for the Spring 2010 issue of Stringing in an attempt to get over my fear of designing with the color orange!

14 thoughts on “How to Write Your Artist Bio

  1. Hmm, this is what I come up with at the moment…

    Monica is an IL-based beadwork designer who specializes in gemstone and sterling creations. She is currently (listening to her stomach growl while seated at her day job and wants) a (hearty snack) that will be (both delicious and satisfying) in (the long run).

    This is a great topic – I’ve had to do these for work, school and other situations, and it can be hard to write them!

  2. Heres our bio:

    GeltDesigns is a family business located in Washington, DC. We design and fabricate handmade artisan jewelry combining fused and pate de verre glass with precious metals and gemstones. Our jewelry is eco-friendly and sophisticated, but perfect for everyday.

    Our creations can be found published in 1000 JEWELRY INSPIRATIONS (Quarry Books), THE ART OF JEWELRY: PLASTIC & RESIN (Lark Books), 500 EARRINGS (Lark Books), MIXED MEDIA & MEMORY JEWELRY INSPIRATIONS (Quarry Books), NEW DIRECTIONS IN METAL CLAY (Lark Books), BEAD BUGLE, BEAD RELEASE, JEWELRY ARTS & LAPIDARY JOURNAL, PMC CONNECTION, STUDIO PMC, WASHINGTON POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and the WEST END GUIDE.

    Find us on the web at http://geltdesigns.com To see our special offers and to make retail purchases, visit http://geltdesigns.etsy.com

    Buy GeltDesigns and “never wear ordinary jewelry!”TM

  3. Here’s our bio:

    GeltDesigns is a family business located in Washington, DC. We design and fabricate handmade artisan jewelry combining fused and pate de verre glass with precious metals and gemstones. Our jewelry is eco-friendly and sophisticated, but perfect for everyday.

    Our creations can be found published in 1000 JEWELRY INSPIRATIONS (Quarry Books), THE ART OF JEWELRY: PLASTIC & RESIN (Lark Books), 500 EARRINGS (Lark Books), MIXED MEDIA & MEMORY JEWELRY INSPIRATIONS (Quarry Books), NEW DIRECTIONS IN METAL CLAY (Lark Books), BEAD BUGLE, BEAD RELEASE, JEWELRY ARTS & LAPIDARY JOURNAL, PMC CONNECTION, STUDIO PMC, WASHINGTON POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and the WEST END GUIDE.

    Find us on the web at http://geltdesigns.com To see our special offers and to make retail purchases, visit http://geltdesigns.etsy.com

    Buy GeltDesigns and “never wear ordinary jewelry!”TM

  4. Oh, how much I loved madlibs as a child!

    Eliza is a Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, FL based lampworker who specializes in burning the hair off her knuckles while at the torch (oh, and making beads too). She is currently sitting at her boring architecture job on lunch thinking about how much she’d rather be home making jewelry. You can currently find her…. secretly browsing the internet at http://icanhascheezburger.com!

    🙂

  5. Thank you, artists statements are top of the list of things I avoid! So, here goes…

    Hannah McNicol is a South Australian-based beader, jeweller and potter who specializes in ceramic beaded jewellery. She is currently working on a range of Christmas decorations and raku pendants that will be available for sale in November. You may contact Hannah at http://www.hannahfaerie.etsy.com.

  6. Linda Campbell is a Virginia based lampwork beadmaker and jewelry artist who specializes in lampwork focal beads. She is currently working on her third tutorial (a lampwork version of the Hatteras Lighthouse) that will be published in the 2009 Annealer magazine. You may contact Linda at http://www.blackbearartglass.com.

  7. Jennifer Morris is a Toronto; Canada based designer/maker who specializes in one of a kind jewelry. She attended Sheridan College, School of Craft and Design majoring in Textiles then was a resident of the Textile Studio at the Craft Studios at Harbourfront Centre. She was known for her embroidery but for the past four years her focus has changed to beading. She is currently concentrating making a living as a full time craft person. If she is not working in her studio you will find her working at Bead Junction (the best bead store in Toronto). You can see her work at local craft shows and galleries and in her etsy shop. You may contact Jennifer at http://www.backjam.com

  8. Valerie, yes, knuckle hair 🙂 there’s maybe 5 or 6 very small blonde ones. I really can’t see it unless you look close (or if I smell it burning). 🙂
    lizajayne.etsy.com

  9. Thanks for this post Jean – I LOVE inventing the artist bio, it’s my favourite part of writing up a project and I challenge myself to come up with something different every time… just like my beadwork!

  10. Holidays are here and finally catching up on Beading Daily – I’ve struggled to write an artists bio so Jean’s formula worked for me – see what you think… comments welcome. Glenda Mac Naughton is an Australian-based beadwork designer who specializes in making dramatic jewellery inspired by diverse ethnic cultures using a variety of bead weaving techniques. She has won national and international awards for her work and her designs have been published in Australian Beader. You may contact Glenda at http://www.daxdesign.com.au or daxdesign@bigpond.com

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