Isabel Bloom sculptures have a recognizable look and a happy uplifting quality. A tour of her studio showroom and tour center made me realize how many hands touch these pieces before a sculpture is complete. All sculptures are made in Davenport, Iowa and visitors can schedule a tour and see the behind the scenes work that goes into her art. The company takes pride in the fact that all their work is Made in America.
Born in Galveston, Texas in 1908, as a young child the family moved to Davenport and according to our guide Kristi showed talent at an early age. My daughter Allie and I were on the tour along with another blogger who has a fascinating way of rating stops, each of her daughters add their take on a stop and with each different personality they each had different ways of looking at an activity. Two of her girls were on this tour so it was really a mother daughter tour all around.
Isabel Bloom studied at the Art Institute in Chicago as well as at Grant Wood’s art Stone City Iowa art colony. It was here that she met her future husband John Bloom who had worked with Grant Wood painting murals for the Des Moines Library and Iowa State University library.
Isabel Bloom developed a technique that bronzes and greens her sculptures enhancing them with color. There are several steps to these fun art pieces that we were able to see during the tour. We were especially blessed to meet Donna Young, who worked with Isabel and took over the design after Isabel Bloom passed away in 2001. “I started working for Isabel Bloom in 1981 after graduating from St. Ambrose college. I majored in art,” Donna explained.
“Back then there were just five employees and I got to learn every aspect of the business. As I learned more, I became a mold maker and I got to pick up sculptures at Isabel’s home.”
Donna became friends with Isabel and John Bloom and she said how kind they were and how they opened their home to their friends. “Isabel was 93 when she died. Our first sculpture was in the early 90’s, for a few years we worked together. I was very lucky. There are lots of talented artists that are only doing their art as a hobby.”
We were very lucky to meet Donna and have a chance to hear how her life intersected with the amazing Isabel Bloom. For anyone that enjoys art and wants to see details of the creation of sculpture, book a free tour by calling 1-800-273-5436. Tours are offered Monday – Thursday from 8:30 -4:00. After the tour visitors also get a discount on Isabel Bloom sculptures!