As Applications Approach - Some Tips.

city of craft meeting
2008 planning meeting with Jen and Leah

Applications for the 2011 show are currently in the works and, barring any calamity, should be up by the 15th - maybe even sooner! So this seemed like as good a time as any to share a few tips on submitting successful applications. Years of sitting on craft juries have taught me a lot about the art of application-making and it is time to share some of my insights with you.

First, I would like to share this excellent recent post on craft fair applications by the equally excellent crew at Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago. Although tastes differ from fair to fair, the basics they run down of professionalism and clarity are bang on.

I have little to add to their reflections except for specifics that pertain uniquely to City of Craft. Those (and a few key point that bear repeating) are submitted for your consideration:

1. Photographs
Our jury sits for up to eight long hours. We review the hundreds of submissions we get visually through a projected slide show. When thought of in those terms, the need for clear and striking images becomes obvious. There is also more than just your craft on display in a submitted image. Your styling and visual ability communicate a lot to the jury. After all, you are not submitting your work to a store, you are submitting to set up your own space at a group show. On the days of the event, you will be responsible for your own display and strong photographs do a lot to communicate your abilities to have a strong presence at the show. Product photographs are also a key way to subtly communicate your personality as a maker and that's a good thing!

2. Long Answers
The jury also employs readers to read out the written materials in the applications. At City of Craft, we like to curate a show that is more than just a sales-based event. Yes, helping vendors sell their wares is a central focus for us, but we also mandate the support of work that is thoughtful, reasoned and executed with quality. This is why we ask we questions about the process and reasoning behind the things you make. The best answers are short, clear and to the point. These questions offer a huge opportunity to let the jury into your studio practice and into your creative process. It is worth giving these answers some thought and then boiling your practice and rationale down to their essential elements.

3. Knowing us, knowing you
New to City of Craft and/or the indie craft fair circuit? If so, it will serve you well to do some research - see what kinds of vendors we tend to book and what sort of programming we run. Knowing our organization and events better will help you put together an application that is more likely to appeal to the jury. When it comes to spying on our past, you are in luck! City of Craft maintains an archive of all our past programs. You can check them all out here.

Now, back to pushing code and getting the applications up.

Happy crafting!

Ring Leader
City of Craft

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