You may have seen the sculptures in Iowa or western Illinois gift shops, perhaps an angel or an animal, usually a solid color with white highlights, sometimes adorned with stones or jewels, but always with the Isabel Bloom signature on the bottom. You can see how the sculptures are created, too, when you tour the Isabel Bloom studio in Davenport, Iowa.
Who is Isabel Bloom?
Isabel Bloom, the artist, is a legend in the Quad Cities. Talented from the time she was a child, Isabel’s work developed into signature green or rose-tinted cement sculptures that eventually became Isabel Bloom, the successful business. Isabel Bloom, the artist, has passed on, but her legacy continues with collectible sculpture, with Donna Young. Donna Young is artist in her own right, carrying on as the sole designer.
On the tour you’ll watch a film outlining the history of the artist, the company, and the company’s place in the community, before touring the studio. Isabel Bloom products are hand-crafted, from pouring the cement into the latex molds, to adding the white highlights, to the resin coating and adding the signature.
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All of the artisans have an art background, whether it is formal education or self-taught. As they chat with you while demonstrating their craft, you’ll detect the true ownership and personal pride that artisans like Julie and Lynn, long-time staff members, take in the pieces they produce.
Our tour guide Lynn, whose regular job is in the coating and signature room, points out a sign on the wall:
A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; but a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist. –Louis Nizer
If you visit Isabel Bloom
The Isabel Bloom Studio Showroom is located at 736 Federal Street in Davenport, Iowa. Tours are free, but you must make a reservation. Check the Isabel Bloom web site for details.
We stayed at Isle Casino Hotel and Conference Center in Bettendorf, Iowa, during our visit to the Quad Cities. Check room rates
Disclosures: Visit Quad Cities hosted our stay in the Quad Cities. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through the “Check room rates” link above, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.
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