|The Stone City Art Colony and School 1932-1933
Isabel Scherer Bloom
Isabel Scherer Bloom (1908-2001) - student
Born in Galveston, Texas, Isabel Scherer moved to Davenport in 1909 and remained there for the rest of her life. Even as a child, she was curious about art and frequently made small sculptures. By the age of thirteen, she took painting lessons.
In 1932, Isabel attended the Stone City Art Colony, where she met her future husband, John Bloom. At the colony, she studied sculpture under Florence Sprague, as well as painting and composition. The sculpture classes met at an abandoned quarry where students worked independently, free of required projects. John and Isabel married in 1942; their three children would provide the inspiration for figurines and many sculptures. Isabel had a children’s program at the Davenport WOC television station for several years called “Make Believe.” The show featured fairy tale characters and hand-painted sets that she created.
While John worked as a Davenport industrial designer, she sculpted in their basement studio and then submitted several pieces to shops in Chicago, including Hoops, a garden shop on Michigan Avenue. That store would be the first American retail outlet for the Isabel Bloom figurine line. Isabel continued working from her home while John did WPA mural commissions and professional art. She maintained a studio on Brown Street in the Village of East Davenport to design and produce original commissions. The shop operated under her guidance from 1951-1981; Bloom sold the shop to a group of Quad-Cities businessmen who expanded the retail chain on a national scale. The original storefront is still a staple of its quaint shopping district.
The only project the Blooms collaborated upon was the children’s book, The Story of Little Cat, with Isabel composing text and John painting the illustrations; only 1000 copies were printed. She would continue to advise and promote the figurine company for many years and died at age 93 in 2001.
Online Resources for Isabel Scherer Bloom:
Isabel Bloom, LLC. “The Isabel Bloom Story.” Available: http://www.ibloom.com/page/Isabel_Bloom_Story.aspx?nt=88
Larson, Sarah. “First Bloom Sculpture Thrown Away.” Quad Cities Online: Progress ’98. Available: http://www.qconline.com/progress98/people/prbloom.html
Robinette, Jane. “Iowa Women Artists Oral History Project: Isabel Bloom: First-Person Narrative.” c2001. Available: http://www.lucidplanet.com/iwa/Archive/otherartistpages/bloomi.htm
Bloom, Isabel and John V. Bloom. The Story of Little Cat. [Davenport, IA]: Isabel Bloom Ltd., 1994.
Photos courtesy of Isabel Bloom, LLC and Hanson Watson Howe Advertising, Moline, Illinois.
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