Thursday, August 24, 2017

Isabel Bloom Studio and Tour in Davenport, Iowa: Creativity in Action


While exploring the Quad Cities, we experienced the live production of Davenport's own Isabel Bloom sculptures. Isabel Bloom sculptures are a mixture of heartwarming, inspirational, sentimental and whimsical pieces. All Isabel Bloom pieces are incredibly beautiful and the care in crafting them is evident. Heart goes into every one!



An original Isabel Bloom sculpture in Davenport, Iowa
One of the original Isabel Bloom sculptures on display.
Immediately, I grasped that the company cares deeply about the community. So, it is no shock that they open their doors and welcome the community in to see production. Our tour began with a video about Isabel Bloom herself. After, we toured the showroom floor and learned more about Isabel. We learned so many anecdotes including how as a child,Isabel crafted sculptures from clay from the river. When she was older, she continued to take inspiration from the world around her and incorporated river rocks or even glass from broken windshields into sculpture. Her concept of using everything and trying not to waste anything really resonates with me because my grandparents taught me the same lesson! It is also something the company holds true to today!

Hugs sculpture by Isabel Bloom Studio
Hugs
Both Isabel and her future husband, John Bloom, studied under Grant Wood famous himself for the piece American Gothic. After leaving Wood's artist colony and returning home, she installed a kiln in her basement to craft sculptures. This was in the 1930's, so quite forward thinking! Isabel passed away in 2001 and was creating her entire life. Some of her original sculptures are still produced including Hugs.

Pouring Isabel Bloom sculptures
Pouring gingerbread men

After learning about Isabel, we toured the factory and observed production in process. We were pretty impressed that we could see production up close and in action. From the mixing of the cement, to pouring into the molds, to painting details, we witnessed how much personal care is put into each piece.

Painting an Isabel Bloom Sculpture
Painting an Isabel Bloom Sculpture
Everyone was delighted to see us and provide us with insight into their part of the process. An incredible amount of detail goes into each piece. We learned a lot and grew a new appreciation for Isabel Bloom products. I was actually surprised by how many steps go into the process! Experiences like this help families better understand the creative process and the heart that goes into Isabel Bloom and so many made in U.S.A. products. They also spark our own ingenuity.

Isabel Bloom sculptures awaiting finishing touches.
Isabel Bloom sculptures awaiting finishing touches.
Isabel Bloom is also very engaged in the community. They pair up with various charitable organizations and often make limited edition sculptures for them. They also work with Habitat for Humanity. New home owners receive a lovely hospitality pineapple for their new homes and new futures! I cannot imagine anything sweeter than in a family's new Habitat home!


Isabel Bloom encourages creative ideas within the company's family and the community at large. Employees at Isabel Bloom are very hands-on with input and design. Additionally, the community can also submit ideas for future sculptures or changes to existing ones. On our tour, we did learn about some upcoming projects and were asked our opinions. Great time to get creative juices flowing!

Lovely sculpture "Emma" with spring flowers.
Lovely sculpture "Emma" with spring flowers.
Under the wings of sculptor Donna Young, Isabel Bloom's new creations are fostered while still staying true to Isabel's vision. Donna worked with Isabel directly for many years and collaborated on many pieces. So, Isabel Bloom sculptures still have the heart of Isabel as well as those who still create drawing inspiration from her.

Angel Celebrate Isabel Bloom sculpture
"Angel Celebrate"
Isabel Bloom creations include old favorites, season items, new creations, perfect mementos and more. The studio tour is one of the best we have been on and is an amazing experience for families. I highly recommend a visit while you are in the Quad Cities for both a tour and a place to pick up something special for home!

Tours can be scheduled Mondays through Thursdays 8:30AM-4:00PM with reservations requested. Isabel Bloom does have a couple of events for children throughout the year. They do require reservations, so sign up for the studio's newsletter to keep informed.

Isabel Bloom Sculptures and Studio Tour in Davenport, Iowa

**Disclosure: Thank you to Visit Quad Cities for hosting our visit. We received complimentary experiences in ordered to facilitate to bring these reviews to you. No other compensation was a received. All opinions are 100% my own.
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