A Day in the Life: Casting

They are our early birds, our heavy-lifters, and our occasional light comedic relief; our esteemed casters. They start their day before the sun comes up to get a jump start on the day ahead.  Coffee is a definite must, otherwise we may end up with purple Cats instead of grey.  Once alert and daily exercises have been performed, the casters get to work.

Casting Process

First things first; ear plugs are a must in the casting room because it is LOUD in there with the cement mixer running and vibrating tables shaking.

Once the casters receive the production molds, the pouring process commences.  A combination of cement, water, sand, and other materials (all purchased locally from the Hahn Company; aka Builders Sand and Cement) are placed into a cement mixer to be prepped for pouring. Watch as Tony demonstrates.

(Did you see Tony’s light up glove? Raise your hand if you want one! 🙂 )

Perfecting the Color

Secret recipe; read quickly, this picture will self-destruct in 5…4…3…2….

To achieve the different colors of the sculptures, dye is mixed in with the cement using a “secret” recipe specific to each sculpture.  Almost any multi-color sculptures you see in our showrooms are poured in a base color and then finished over with the additional paint to achieve the desired look.

Perfecting Imperfections

As the molds are being filled with cement they are tilted and twirled in all directions; this releases any air bubbles that may have formed during the mixing process.  On occasion, some air bubbles become trapped.  You may notice them on the bottoms of some of your finished pieces.  Not to worry though; they do not compromise the integrity of the sculptures.  They are simply “beauty marks” as we like to call them 🙂

After being poured, the sculptures are left to dry in their mold overnight.  The plaster “outers” are taken apart in the morning and the latex molds are carefully peeled off the concrete sculpture.  If there are any rough edges, those are filed smooth and then placed on a cart to be taken to finishing. Can you spot a “new” design in the mix?

Fun Fact:

During the mold making process, each latex and corresponding outer mold are numbered. Because all molds are unique it is important that the pair are matched up correctly when being put back together. Imagine trying to put your shoes on the wrong feet; they fit, but something’s just not quite right…

On an average day, about 50-60 molds are poured. Some come in plates, like our ornaments, where you can get anywhere from 6 to 10 molds per plate depending on the size.

Other, bigger molds  are poured one at a time.  The number poured depends upon the number of sculptures on the production schedule for that day/week.  During the holidays this number increases to meet the demand, thanks to our loyal customers like you! Our casters don’t mind the extra work!

Casting Team

Our casters, like many of those working in other departments, all have been with Isabel Bloom for over 24 years!  They come with a wide range of talents and skills and help ensure that the process of making an Isabel Bloom runs as smoothly as possible.

A few employees, casters included, complete side projects for us, like preparing materials for our fun craft events that we occasionally host at our tour center in Davenport. Sometimes they’ll build furniture for our displays (like this awesome wood tree made from pallet board to hold ornaments, or this cute and functional key holder).

The Next Chapter…

Join me next time as we venture into the bright and colorful world of finishing; the next step in the production process.

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

4 Comments

  • Betsy Untiedt

    February 15, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Been on tour but enjoy seeing it in print, can take time to see it

    • Lexi Johnson

      February 21, 2018 at 11:36 am

      Betsy, thank you for visiting us and for taking a tour. We hope you’ll come back again and bring your friends and family 🙂

  • Leah Smith

    February 15, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    I have been collecting Isabel Bloom statues since the 8o’s when I lived in the Quad Cities. I am now in Texas and when I return home, I always stop and buy a piece…or if free shipping is involved; I will place an order. My Brother usually visits once a year and he will pick up the larger statues and drive them down.

    • Lexi Johnson

      February 21, 2018 at 11:24 am

      Thank you so much Leah, for being a loyal customer 🙂 Your brother must be a nice guy to drive those heavy ones down for you!

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