31 Years of Angels

31 Angels! How is that possible? How did it all start? Whose idea was it? Why Angels? First of all, we’d like to share the list of all 31 angels:

  • 1987 – Book (Retired)
  • 1988 – Mandolin (Retired)
  • 1989 – Horn (Retired)
  • 1990 – Boy (Retired)
  • 1991 – Flowers (Retired)
  • 1992 – Doll (Retired)
  • 1993 – Star (Retired)
  • 1994 – Littlest (Retired)
  • 1995 – Rabbit (Retired)
  • 1996 – Kneeling (Retired)
  • 1997 – Choirboy (Retired)
  • 1998 – Bedtime (Retired)
  • 1999 – Sm Packages (Retired)
  • 2000 – My Kitty (Retired)
  • 2001 – My Puppy (Retired)
  • 2002 – Basket (Retired)
  • 2003 – Cello (Retired)
  • 2004 – Reach for the Stars (Retired)
  • 2005 – Bell (Retired)
  • 2006 – Hearts (Retired)
  • 2007 – Rejoice (Retired)
  • 2008 – Kindness (Retired)
  • 2009 – Love
  • 2010 – Boy
  • 2011 – Rose
  • 2012 – Wreath (Retired)
  • 2013 – Winter (Retired)
  • 2014 – Forget Me Not
  • 2015 – Shining Light
  • 2016 – Celebrate
  • 2017 – Promise

Of these, only seven still remain in the line.  The others have been retired to make room for the new.  Isabel designed those in bold. I created the last 22. Let’s take a look at how it all began.

Introduction of the Angel Series

Back in the mid-eighties, Isabel’s sculptures continued to grow in popularity, and the introduction of a new design would bring lines of customers to our doors.  So naturally, the 2 women who owned the business (Isabel sold her company to Bernadette Murphy and Barb VanVooren in 1981) were always excited when presented with a new design in clay.  Truthfully, this was not often enough for them.  Barb and Bernie would ask Isabel to create certain designs, and occasionally she would comply, but usually she would sculpt what inspired her, and the design was always a hit.

Bernie and Barb thought a small angel would be a lovely addition to the line and thought it would be especially great for Christmas decorating! They asked Isabel for this, and they waited…and waited.  I don’t think she was real crazy about the idea of sculpting sweet little angels.  Several years went by, and then low and behold! Not one, not two, but three Angels from Isabel!  The first holding a book, the second playing the mandolin, and the third blowing a horn.  Our angel series was born! And the rest, as they say…is history!

Isabel had warmed up to the idea of angels, and for many more years she continued creating a new angel every year; each one with a different hair and dress style, and each one doing something different.  They were well-received by her adoring fans. I actually had the privilege of completing the detail work on her last few, as her declining health was getting in the way of her ability to work on the fine detail.  This was my opportunity of a lifetime; to work and learn from Isabel herself.  I have since carried on this tradition of sculpting a new angel every year, and they have continued to grow in popularity.  Many are given as gifts for a variety of occasions, from birthdays to anniversaries as well as for sympathy and support.  We now include a story card with each one, as we do with all of our sculptures, adding more meaning to the gift.

Adding Color

2006 was the first year that color was added to an angel.  The hearts on the 2006 Hearts Angel were painted red. Although this was eagerly received by our customers, we did not add color again until 2009, with the Angel of Love.  Again, she is holding a heart and the heart was painted a deep pink.  We do not want to force color on a piece, sometimes it makes sense, and sometimes it doesn’t.  Since we have adopted the practice of adding color though, I give that careful consideration as I am sculpting many of the new designs.

2017 Angel

This year’s Promise Angel represents hope in the future, as well as the potential in each and every one of us!  This includes creative potential, and I know that all of you are filled with creative ideas. I would love to hear your ideas on what you think the next angel should be doing, or holding, or even ideas on how she should be dressed.  Please share your ideas!


by Donna Y

Donna (Liston) Young graduated from St. Ambrose University in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in Fine Art and Art Education. She started working for Isabel Bloom shortly after graduation, holding many different positions within the company. She was mentored by Isabel before her passing in 2001, and has become the sole designer, and now co-owner of Isabel Bloom.



  • Cathy Fagan

    August 22, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    Would love one with an❌⭕️❌⭕️

    • Donna Young

      August 23, 2017 at 11:50 am

      Cathy, Thanks for the cute idea!

  • Brubaker Thune Pauline

    December 7, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I can’t wait to pick them up for my grandkids

  • Margaret Mattix

    January 6, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I have many Isabel Blooms received as gifts or purchased by me. But the small angels that come out each year are my favorite. I received my first one in 2000. Then I did not receive another until 2004 none in 2005 but since then I have each one. I do not have a lot of collections but this is the one that makes me the happiest and I make sure I have each of the new ones that come out. I hope this line will last for a long time as they bring such joy to me and all who visit my home.

    • Donna

      January 8, 2018 at 9:17 am

      Hi Margaret! Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that the angels bring you such joy! I surely enjoy sculpting them, so hope to continue the series for years to come!

  • Kathi Wells

    April 26, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    I found my first two sculptures in a thrift shop today and am in love. I live in the mtns of NC and had never seen these before. One I found is a little angel holding a star up in the air. Have not been able to find her on list. Also these appear signed on bottom in black ink marker and dated. Does this mean anything?

    • Donna Young

      April 27, 2018 at 8:34 am

      Welcome to Isabel Bloom! The angel you are referring to is called “Reach for the Stars”. She was introduced into our line in 2004. The signature on the bottom is our trademark, after our namesake, and company founder, Isabel Bloom. We’re glad you’ve stumbled upon us! We are based in Davenport, Iowa where we design and create every sculpture by hand. Please look around on our website to learn more about our founder, Isabel, and our rich company history. :0)
      Warm regards,

  • Beth Millea

    January 12, 2019 at 12:38 pm

    My family moved to the Quad Cities in 1992. A business associate gave my husband the Christmas angel every year. When I realized there were from a collection, I decided to buy the Angels from the beginning of the collection. I have now collected every one of the Angels ever made. I treasure them & can’t wait to put them on display every Christmas.
    Thank you for listing the names of all the Angels. I am grateful for the history & to be able to put a name to each angel.
    My idea for a new Christmas angel is an angel with a halo holding the Baby Jesus in swaddling clothes, also with a halo
    God bless!.

    • donna young

      January 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

      Thank you for your comments. I’m glad you enjoy the angels. I like the idea of sculpting an angel holding baby Jesus. Thanks for the suggestion, and thanks for supporting our local business. 🙂

Comments are closed.

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