Loss of beloved grandmother propels island artist
Norman “Snooze” Bloom III has always loved working with his hands and creating things with wood or other materials.
But it took the loss last year of his beloved grandmother, Gracie Clara Reese, to propel him to start creating various art items made of wood for friends and family.
“I had to find something to do with my time,” Bloom, 49, said. “I always had the skills to create items, and was always called upon to ‘fix’ things for people who knew I had this talent, but I couldn’t focus on it because I was the sole caretaker of my grandmother, who meant the world to me.”
Bloom grew up in Galveston and graduated from Ball High School in 1987.
He learned his craft while attending wood shop classes at Austin Middle School and Ball High School, where Wayne Johnson and Billy Williams Sr. were his teachers, respectively. Bloom’s grandfather was a carpenter by trade and his uncle owns a cabinetry store on The Strand in Galveston’s downtown.
“I remember everything they taught me way back then,” he said. “It was like everything just came back to me once I decided that this is what I really wanted to do.”
Bloom, who is always up for a challenge, said there’s nothing really too hard for him to make or design. He relishes bringing people’s ideas and desires to fruition, he said.
One request came from his sister-in-law, Destin Simmons, who wanted him to make a ring and trophy case for her son.
“She sent me a picture of a case that she’d seen from another parent while she was at a baseball tournament in Louisiana,” he said. “By the time she got home, not only was the project finished, but now the entire team has placed an order for the same item, too. It’s crazy.”
Bloom has completed 50 projects since he began eight months ago, he said. Those orders include bunk beds with desks attached to them, crosses, clocks, lamps and more.
“People are amazed at the different, quirky items that I make out of everyday things,” he said. “It’s just amazing how well things are falling into place.”
Bloom is using a deck he built in the back of his house as his work area. Eventually, he wants to open up a store on the island that will feature his work. For now, he’s happy working where he’s at, he said.
Bloom believes he has found his niche and that his grandmother would be proud of him, he said.
“My grandmother used to always encourage me, and that’s one of the things I really miss about her,” he said. “I believe this is divine intervention. I know she’s looking down from heaven smiling, and that’s what keeps me moving forward.”