Plenty of entrants to The Craftys ask how to write about their crafts so the description will impress the judges as well as potential voters. We’d love to share some of what we’ve learned reading the entries over the years as well as some general writing advice.
Give us the facts. Be sure to answer the basic questions of journalism as best as you can. Who? What? Where? Why? When? (and How?)
Let’s start with the easy answer. You probably filled out the answer to who in your entry form. But keep in mind that if your work was based on another creator’s pattern, we’ll need the name of the pattern and creator. Don’t worry, previous winners have created work on another person’s pattern, but it’s only fair to acknowledge the originator of the piece.
Chances are you also included where you’re from in your entry, but if that location had any interesting influence on your work definitely let us know. For example, you may have learned a specific type of pattern from living in an Amish influenced part of the country.
This answer may seem simple, but a lot of falls into the answer. Include the specifics of the materials. Is the yarn red or plum? Was the paper handmade? We appreciate details. Then there is the craft itself. Be sure to describe the piece in a way that explains your influences as well as places where it you were inspired by from an atypical source.
The answer to this question is extremely important and often overlooked. Plenty of entrants will write the details of what they made in the simplest terms and then click submit. By explained where you got your ideas from you’ll increase the likelihood of getting noticed by many times. For example, Paula Nadelstern, who won the 2017 General Crafts category, entered a stunning piece that looked vaguely like a human’s head and neck covered in a vibrant fireworks pattern of thread. The story behind the needlework was equally enthralling. She has used sewing to transform the mask used during radiation treatments into a work of art.
Of coruse, not every craft will have a such a harrowing backstory. Even simple ones can be charming. For her Dragonfruit Shawl entry Keilah Fok explained: I’ve always struggled with the fear of the blank page, or, in the case of crochet, fear of the untouched skein. So when I received my very first cake of gradient yarn, which I had ordered for the purpose of finally designing the textured crescent shawl I’d been dreaming of, I determined not to touch it until I’d first perfected the design in a less fancy yarn.”
If you want to tell us when the object was made, please do. If you think it’s important we know that you made it late at night or early in the morning, tell us.
Include details about the processes or stitches you used. If your process helped inspire the creation, we’d love to know how.
Now for more general tips.
Proofread your work. Since you don’t have the ability to rewrite the piece in our system, definitely read it again before sending. It may even be helpful to read it aloud or have someone else review it.
Be conversational. No need to try to impress anyone with obscure words and long sentences.
Fluff is delicious, but you don’t need it in your writing. Sure we gave you a lot of suggestions for elements you can include in a short piece.
Consider using a grammar checker. If you want to careful you can write your entry in a word processing doc and copy it into an online grammar tool before pasting it into The Craftys form.
We look forward to seeing your entry in The Craftys. Hopefully, the tips listed above will also help you to become better at custom writing.