A Day in the Life of …

… A Mold Maker!

When you walk into a room and are greeted with the sounds of classic rock music and the face of Goofy at your feet, you know that you are in a fun place filled with creative minds hard at work. Welcome to our Mold Department!

Recently, I spent some time with our Mold team to get a personal look into their every day process in hopes of understanding the importance of their role in the production of an Isabel Bloom sculpture. Here is what I was able to uncover.

Mold: The First Step

The first step in the making of an Isabel Bloom sculpture comes from the design.  Our designer, Donna Young, works very diligently with our product development team to brainstorm many ideas for sculptures they feel will do well and that our customers will like most.  Once the ideas are decided upon, Donna will work up the design in clay.  From there, the finished clay goes to our Mold Department.

The job of the mold department is an important one, they make the molds for the entire production of our sculptures.  The whole mold making process can take 3-4 weeks from start to finish.  After Donna supplies them with the clay design, many coats of latex are applied to create the inner lining for the outer plaster mold.  The latex mold is what forms into every nook and cranny of the sculptures to ensure that all the details are captured from the original clay.

After several layers of latex are applied, a plaster mold or “outer” is then built on top of the latex to create structure to hold the form of the design.  This plaster mold is then placed in our drying room for 1-2 weeks depending on the size of the sculpture.  The end result is our “master mold.”

Plaster models are then created from the master mold.  These models or “plugs” go through several steps to create the production molds.  The production molds are then used to produce the Isabel Bloom sculptures that you purchase in our stores and online.

There are many steps to the process of making a production mold, but they told me if they shared that information with me, they’d have to kill me 😉 However, they did let me take a few photos to share with you.

The Next Step

After the production molds have been made, they are taken to our casting department for the next step in the handcrafted process.  Join us next time as I spend a day with our casting department to learn about  the important role it plays in creating an Isabel Bloom sculpture.

Meet our Mold Team

Our Mold department has definitely changed in size since Isabel ran the company but we have a few employees that have been with us for years.  I introduce to you (left to right) Greg, Darcie, Emma, and Jean.

Greg the Snowman: not currently available.

Greg has been with Isabel Bloom for 30 years! Not only is he our master mold maker, but also often wears the hat of resident “handyman” and “master light bulb changer”, since he is our tallest employee 🙂 Fun fact: He even had our tall, slender snowman named after him; Greg the Snowman. How many of you have one?

Jean has been with the company 27 years, and has worked in several different departments along with working in the mold department. She has the hard job of telling Donna which of her designs need to be altered or cannot be produced because of “mold issues”. Talk about pressure!

Darcie has been with us for 22 years, and has also worked in several departments including finishing, casting, coating, repair, front office and sales before ending up in her most recent position in the Mold department. She can do it all!

Emma has only been in the mold department for 2 years, but has been a part of the Isabel Bloom family since she was born! (She’s Donna’s daughter) Like the others, she also wears many hats. Emma splits her time between working in the mold department and working in our sales department. The name may sound familiar because she too has a sculpture named after her.

Emma

Although our mold department is small, they bring a lot of knowledge, expertise, and creativeness to the handcrafted process and we truly appreciate all the hard work they put in for us!

A Day in the Life Series…

Over the next several months we are going to give you a special inside look at all the working parts of our company. We’ll visit with all the departments that help this company run; from all the hands involved in the handcrafted process; to what it takes to package and ship your Isabel Blooms to you; to the hard working customer service department; and our front line Sales team. We do it all here at Isabel Bloom and we want to share what we do with all of you! Keep watch for our next post!

by Lexi Johnson

Lexi has been with Isabel bloom for 16 years, since she was a youngin’. She has over 50 sculptures of her own because she LOVES Isabel blooms. Lexi has a wonderful husband and a son who challenges her every day but she wouldn’t trade being his mom for anything in the world. In her spare time, she loves being outdoors with her family, golfing, kayaking, and hiking when they can.

Comments

18 Comments

  • Barbara Grassley

    July 18, 2017 at 11:27 am

    It is SO interesting to see how an Isabel Bloom sculpture begins to be created. I have several Isabel Bloom sculptures and enjoy each one.

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 18, 2017 at 1:17 pm

      Thank you for commenting Barbara. Stay tuned for more behind the scenes action to come!

  • Nice to see the faces behind the scenes. I have Isabels from decades ago!!!

    July 18, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Nice to see the faces behind the scenes. I have Isabels from decades ago!!!

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm

      Thank you for your comment. What’s your favorite one? 🙂

  • Debbie Mauck

    July 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    fascinating! I have over 25 pieces, many retired ones. My mom has Hilda the large one, with a signed letter from Isabel herself! Now tell me were can I find BENJAMIN BUNNY??? I’m desperate!!!!

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      Hi Debbie, that’s so neat that she has a signed letter from Isabel! As for the Benjamin Bunny, we would recommend checking ebay or craigs list! Happy Hunting 🙂

  • Martha Dehn

    July 18, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    I am a native gal from Davenport transported to California. I have several Bloom sculptures in my garden. Love the “inside look” on how thing are done.

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

      Thank you, Martha! We have exciting new things in store for our garden line next year 🙂

  • Dee Anna Fiedler

    July 18, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    This s such a good idea to be able to see a little history on the different guys & gals that put their hearts into their jobs. It not only takes Donna to sculpt her ideas it takes her whole crew to apply themselves. I have beem collecting since 1986 maybe a little earlier and have so many. I just LOVE Isabels.Every room in my home has them!!! Keep up all your good work you do:)

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 19, 2017 at 10:52 am

      Thank you, Dee Anna, and for being a continued customer!

  • Kathy Harding

    July 18, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    I love Isabel Bloom. Have over 50 of them. Collecting the song bird series right now. Keep up the good work!

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 19, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Thank you, Kathy! If you could pick the next song bird, which would you choose?

  • Maxine Engelkes

    July 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm

    I have taken 2 tours of the factory and really enjoyed seeing the sculptures being made. Great to see the workers involved and amazed at their length of service. I love the sculptures (have many including the ones available for purchase when you take the tour) and have trouble resisting the garden ones. Wish there was a “real” Isabel Bloom store available in my area.

  • Lexi Johnson

    July 20, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Thank you, Maxine, for your continued support of Isabel Bloom!

  • Mary orth

    July 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I am enjoying the posts! keep up the good work! I love Isabel Bloom!

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 20, 2017 at 3:56 pm

      Thank you, Mary!

  • Helen Cline

    July 20, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    I have the entire small angel collection. I’ve been working on the cats and snowmen. My sister and I have done several factory tours. Plus, we have done several the craft projects. We have gotten to know the employees along the way, a wonderful group of people. Tell the girls “hello” from the sisters and we hope to see you soon.

    • Lexi Johnson

      July 20, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      We’ll pass the “Hello” along 🙂 Thank you for being such loyal customers/crafters/visitors!

Leave a Comment

Giveaway Rules

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN.
  1. Eligibility: This Campaign is open only to those who sign up and who are 16 years of age or older as of the date of entry.The Campaign is only open to legal residents of the United States, and is void where prohibited by law. Employees of Isabel Bloom, its affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, and suppliers, (collectively the “Employees”), and immediate family members and/or those living in the same household of Employees are not eligible to participate in the Campaign. The Campaign is subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Void where prohibited.
  2. Agreement to Rules: By participating, the Contestant (“You”) agree to be fully unconditionally bound by these Rules, and You represent and warrant that You meet the eligibility requirements. In addition, You agree to accept the decisions of Isabel Bloom as final and binding as it relates to the content of this Campaign.
  3. Campaign Period: Entries will be accepted online starting on Friday, April 20th, 2018 and ending Wednesday, April 25th, 2018. All online entries must be received by Wednesday April 25th, 2018 at 11:59pm.
  4. How to Enter: The Campaign must be entered by submitting an entry using the comment box below. The entry must fulfill all Campaign requirements, as specified, to be eligible to win a prize. Entries that are incomplete or do not adhere to the rules or specifications may be disqualified at the sole discretion of Isabel Bloom.
  5. Prizes: The Winner(s) of the Campaign (the “Winner”) will receive a $100 gift card to Isabel Bloom. The specifics of the prize shall be solely determined by Isabel Bloom. No cash or other prize substitution shall be permitted except at Isabel Bloom’s discretion. No substitution of prize or request for the cash equivalent by Winner is permitted. Acceptance of prize constitutes permission for Isabel Bloom to use Winner’s name, likeness, and entry for purposes of advertising and trade without further compensation, unless prohibited by law.
  6. Odds: The odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries received.
  7. Winner Selection and Notification: Winner will be selected by a random drawing under the supervision of Isabel Bloom. Winner will be notified by email within five (5) days following selection of Winner. Isabel Bloom shall have no liability for Winner’s failure to receive notices due to spam, junk e-mail or other security settings or for Winner’s provision of incorrect or otherwise non-functioning contact information. If Winner cannot be contacted, is ineligible, fails to claim the prize within 7 days from the time award notification was sent, the prize may be forfeited and an alternate Winner selected. Receipt by Winner of the prize offered in this Campaign is conditioned upon compliance with any and all federal, state, and local laws and regulations. ANY VIOLATION OF THESE OFFICIAL RULES BY WINNER (AT ISABEL BLOOM‘S SOLE DISCRETION) WILL RESULT IN WINNER’S DISQUALIFICATION AS WINNER OF THE CAMPAIGN, AND ALL PRIVILEGES AS WINNER WILL BE IMMEDIATELY TERMINATED.
  8. Rights Granted by You: By entering this content (e.g., photo, video, text, etc.), You understand and agree that Isabel Bloom, anyone acting on behalf of Isabel Bloom, and Isabel Bloom’s licensees, successors, and assigns, shall have the right, where permitted by law, to print, publish, broadcast, distribute, and use in any media now known or hereafter developed, in perpetuity and throughout the World, without limitation, your entry, name, portrait, picture, voice, likeness, image, statements about the Campaign, and biographical information for news, publicity, information, trade, advertising, public relations, and promotional purposes, without any further compensation, notice, review, or consent.
  9. Terms & Conditions: Isabel Bloom reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Campaign should virus, bug, non-authorized human intervention, fraud, or other cause beyond Isabel Bloom’s control corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, or proper conduct of the Campaign. In such case, Isabel Bloom may select the Winner from all eligible entries received prior to and/or after (if appropriate) the action taken by Isabel Bloom.Isabel Bloom reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operation of the Campaign or website or violates these Terms & Conditions. Isabel Bloom has the right, in its sole discretion, to maintain the integrity of the Campaign, to void votes for any reason, including, but not limited to: multiple entries from the same user from different IP addresses; multiple entries from the same computer in excess of that allowed by Campaign rules; or the use of bots, macros, scripts, or other technical means for entering. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any website or undermine the legitimate operation of the Campaign may be a violation of criminal and civil laws. Should such attempt be made, Isabel Bloom reserves the right to seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law.
  10. Limitation of Liability: By entering, You agree to release and hold harmless Isabel Bloom and its subsidiaries, affiliates, advertising and promotion agencies, partners, representatives, agents, successors, assigns, employees, officers, and directors from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, claim, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from: (i) such entrant’s participation in the Campaign and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of any prize or any portion thereof; (ii) technical failures of any kind, including but not limited to the malfunction of any computer, cable, network, hardware, or software, or other mechanical equipment; (iii) the unavailability or inaccessibility of any transmissions, telephone, or Internet service; (iv) unauthorized human intervention in any part of the entry process or the Promotion; (v) electronic or human error in the administration of the Promotion or the processing of entries.
  11. Disputes: THIS Campaign IS GOVERNED BY THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AND IOWA, WITHOUT RESPECT TO CONFLICT OF LAW DOCTRINES. As a condition of participating in this Campaign, participant agrees that any and all disputes that cannot be resolved between the parties, and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Campaign, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, exclusively before a court located in Iowa having jurisdiction. Further, in any such dispute, under no circumstances shall participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and hereby waives all rights to, punitive, incidental, or consequential damages, including reasonable attorney’s fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e. costs associated with entering this Campaign). Participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.
  12. Sponsor: The Sponsor of the Campaign is Isabel Bloom, 736 Federal Street, Suite 2100, Davenport, IA, 52803.
  13. The Campaign hosted by Isabel Bloom is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with Facebook.
  14. By submitting an entry, You, the Contestant, have affirmatively reviewed, accepted, and agreed to all of the Official Rules.
0