How to Write Your Artist Bio

Oct 29, 2008

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


Pick Your Prize Giveaway Reminder:  There's still time to enter this random drawing for the Create Jewelry books or BeadFest workshop DVDs that ends October 31, 2008.  Be sure to read the official rules and fill out the official entry form.  Leaving a comment on the web page does not enter you in the drawing!

Ribbon Pin Gallery:  A new reader gallery is up with jewelry inspired by the popular awareness ribbons!  View the gallery.


Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!



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Comments

MonicaP@10 wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 8:04 AM

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!

geltdesigns wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 8:57 AM

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

geltdesigns wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 8:58 AM

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

lizajayne wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 9:49 AM

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!

:)

ValerieA@6 wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 10:18 AM

“VAharoni is an artist and designer living in concrete-locked Brooklyn, NY. She writes a blog on valerieaharoni.blogspot.com, teaches polymer clay classes and maintains a web presence http://www.vaharoni.com. and Etsy shop http://VAharoni.etsy.com

....the serious try...

ValerieA@6 wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 10:19 AM

Eliza...knuckle hair???? Nice ladies do not have knuckle hair....

hannahfaerie wrote
on Oct 29, 2008 7:07 PM

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 www.hannahfaerie.etsy.com.

Swamperfolk wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 4:59 AM

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 www.blackbearartglass.com.

JenniferM@70 wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 4:37 PM

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 www.backjam.com

on Oct 30, 2008 11:10 PM

I'm relatively new to jewellery making, and surprise myself with my inventiveness.  I use to be a computer systems designer, and my only explanation is that I've simply transferred my skills of "thinking outside the box" . You can see my designs which are mostly available as kits at www.jubeadilation.synthasite.com

lizajayne wrote
on Nov 2, 2008 12:09 PM

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

Nemeton wrote
on Nov 3, 2008 9:57 AM

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!

GlendaM@13 wrote
on Dec 30, 2008 3:30 PM
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
on Feb 25, 2009 2:02 PM
Jean...would it be okay if I reprinted part of this in our glass beadmaker's guild newsletter? It has such great info and we are trying to get members to contribute to our online gallery. Thanks Margaret Sutherland msutherland100@yahoo.com