In the Artist's Studio: Raggedy Pants Designs by Michelle Allen
Raggedy Pants Designs by Michelle Allen is a Bethany Lowe Designs licensed artist. Michelle is a wife, and mother to two precious boys (young men now) and two adorable grandsons.
She loves living in the Ozarks, close to Branson, Missouri. I enjoyed listening to her journey as an artist that morphed from painting ceramics as a teenager, to a now well sought-after artist.
The clown in the magazine Michelle is pointing to:
We started with the ‘favorite holiday’ growing up story that led into reminiscing about the old days:
Michelle’s favorite holiday growing up was always Christmas and it was more about time with family then it was about presents. Her family would get together and spend time around food, visiting and playing. Her mom had six brothers and sisters, so the cousin-tree was large! She loved being able to see them each year, play in the snow if possible and be around those that she loved and that loved her.
I asked Michelle to walk me through her journey in the art world and tell me how she became one of the best:
Michelle had always enjoyed art, even in junior high she remembers her mom taking her to ceramics classes. She laughs as she remembers one of her first paintings being a Raggedy Ann and Andy set of lamps. Love for art never changed as life moved on and when she had her youngest son, she decided she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, but to do that, she needed a little supplemental income. After spending time in the craft stores, she started a new venture by making button dolls and selling them at craft shows. You could even find her, with her 3-year-old by her side, going to small businesses in town and selling her wares! People were eager to buy so she kept selling at local craft fairs.
Her art progressed and she started making cloth snowmen and Raggedy Ann dolls. She became popular in the beginning years of Ebay and became known by her username, Raggedy Pants. As her following grew, it was easy enough for that to then become her website and company name. In 2004, the love of her dolls grew into designing patterns that people could purchase and those patterns took off like crazy.
Time went on and she went back to work but continued down her path of progressing her art and she started working in clay. Her first creations were fairies. If you look at the details in her work, you will be amazed. After a while though, Michelle got into sculpting folk art. She loved sculpting her Little Boo at Halloween and her Snowmen at Christmas. As her popularity grew, she looked at avenues to expand her footprint. When she approached Bethany Lowe regarding her work, Bethany gave a resounding ‘Yes’!
Now that we know the journey, I asked Michelle about the methods she uses in her artwork:
Through the years, Michelle has used many different mediums. In the large new Boo, the medium is a Papier Mache, but she has also used premier clay, paper clay and her favorite which is stone clay, otherwise known as La Doll. La Doll is especially useful in the creation of small ornaments since it has less tendency to crack.
All of Michelle’s original artwork and prototypes for Bethany Lowe Designs are hand sculpted. Everything begins from nothing and is created from a lump of clay. Each character is then hand painted to express the fine details you will see in characters such as the Easter snowman or the sweet bird on the spool.
Just a note of differentiation: when we talk about 'originals' from an artist, they are One Of A Kind (ie OOAK) pieces of art created by the art. A 'reproduction' on the other hand, is a manufactured copy of an original. All originals should be signed by the artist. There are occasions (like in our 'Artist's Collections') that you will find signed reproductions. These are manufactured pieces that the artist has received and personally touched, signed and made it possible to give to you as a collector.
Here is a sample of a July Fourth original from Michelle:
Here is one of my favorite Fall originals:
The way you can tell if a Raggedy Pants Designs piece is an original is by the stamp on the bottom (see below for sample):
Knowing the journey and the method is one thing, but I also wanted to know where she got her inspiration (since I have none!):
Michelle loves perusing through illustrations of cartoon-y type characters. While doing that is fun and gives her ideas, she never really has a vision of what her character will look like before she begins. When she sits down to create, it is the pressing and mashing of the clay that brings a character to life. If you look at her Instagram, there are so many characters that you become drawn too. I favor the animals, but many people love the variations of the Boo ghost or her Snowmen!
Which makes me think…(so I ask), what do you think you are most known for?
Michelle thinks that most of her collectors have been drawn to her Boo Ghost and Snowman the most. Bethany Lowe Designs has many reproductions you can choose from:
I always like to know what people do for fun, especially when I think their job is so much fun:
Michelle loves spending time with her sons and grandsons. She spends many summer days at the ball field watching her oldest grandson play (while his dad coaches). Her younger grandson is geared up and ready to play now too, so she will be twice as busy!
Another love in her life and where she enjoys spending time is with her Bull Mastiff (only 140 pounds of him…haha), Lewy.
As we wrap up our conversation, I like to know when the artist feels satisfied and where they think their journey will go from here:
Finding satisfaction in your work can be tough and I have found that artists are extremely hard on themselves. They love to create but want to ensure their art is loved and appreciated. Michelle finds the most satisfaction from her work when the character is complete, and the collector loves her work (and who wouldn’t!!!).
As far as her journey, Michelle has always placed her business in God’s hand. She knows that He will open doors for her when the time is ready, and she counts on her faith to guide her. When it comes to her art, she is ready to continue to take her snowman through all the holidays and put some focus into some fall creations. In terms of her originals, Michelle is wanting to continue to design snowmen for her Christmas collection that reflects the reason for the season! In addition, she is hoping to focus some attention to adding more ornaments. I am up for seeing more! I know her collectors will be too!
Holiday Pizzazz proudly carries art by Raggedy Pants Designs. As a licensed artist of Bethany Lowe Designs, you will find many of Michelle Allen's reproductions such as Boo's Boo, Spooktacular Skelly, Pumpkinhead, Trick or Treat Ghostie, The Little Snowman, Mr. Jingles Snowman and much more! If you can't find what you are looking for....reach out. We'll do our very best to help you find what you desire to complete your Holiday Home Decor!