village in bloom

A celebration of the arts in the Village of East Davenport

May 7, 2016


village in bloom

About Isabel

Isabel BloomIsabel's Early Years

Isabel Rose Scherer was born in Galveston, Texas on Feb. 20, 1908 and raised in Davenport, Iowa. Her artistic life began early.

As a young girl, Isabel fashioned small animals from clay dug along the banks of the Mississippi River. She baked them in the family hearth. She got in trouble, but it was worth it!

Later, she received daily art lessons at Davenport's Immaculate Conception Academy, followed by further training at the Vogue School of Fashion and Design. Later still, Isabel attended the Chicago Art Institute.


Isabel at Stone City ... and in Davenport

In the early 1930's, Isabel spent 2 summers at the Stone City Art Colony in central Iowa, carving limestone under the watchful eye of America's great regionalist artist, Grant Wood.

While there, Isabel met another soon-to-be accomplished young artist, John Bloom, whom she married in 1938.

While sculpting in her new Davenport home and raising 3 young sons, Isabel accepted the challenge of communicating in the new medium of live television.

As host of the children's program, "Let's Make Believe," Isabel modeled, dressed and used clay figurines of her own design to illustrate the stories she told - these were Isabel's puppets!

A short art lesson concluded each program. Isabel's insightful observations of children became the driving inspiration of her career as a sculptor.

You can see Wood's regionalist influence in Isabel's artwork. Crafted from the locally-available materials of concrete and river stone, Isabel Bloom figurines reflect inspiration from the artist's own backyard. Children playing and exploring. Pets lounging. Wildlife swimming, running and flying.


Creating "Isabel Bloom"

Isabel's experimentation with the reproduction of her clay sculptures led to the development of the unique concrete casting and finishing process she used to create her statues. Hand-finished to resemble weathered bronze Victorian-era garden sculptures, Isabel was now able to produce multiple pieces for sale.

These early sculptures soon gained popularity with the customers of a Chicago gift store named Hoops. The increasing demand gave Isabel the confidence to move her studio from home into rented quarters in the Village of East Davenport. To increase production, Isabel also traded her mortar box and trowel for the little red cement mixer that became her pride and joy - and a fixture in her studio - for the next 30 years.

We invite you to learn more about Isabel's history by attending our 1st annual festival. Enjoy seeing how area children interpret the regionalist style and subject matter. View the exhibit of Isabel's original artwork. Watch puppet shows that aren't too different from those created by Isabel herself 60 years ago. And enjoy what your children create in the make-and-take art tents!