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Aspen Times 1.9.18

“Snowmass Grand Prix is an important stop on the road to 2018 Winter Olympics”
by Austin Colbert

The medals handed out at this week’s Toyota U.S. Grand Prix were designed by Ridgway artist Lisa Issenberg, who designed the medals for last year’s FIS World Cup Finals in Aspen and other events. For the Grand Prix, Issenberg said she used a mix of handcrafted and industrial techniques and no two medals are the same. In celebration of Snowmass’s 50th anniversary season, Issenberg incorporated the “Snowmass 50” logo as the bib.

See full article in the Aspen Times

This entry was posted on Friday, January 12th, 2018 and is filed under Blog, Press

The Watch 12.7.17

World Cup Medals Created by Ridgway Artist
Lisa Issenberg’s custom awards spread around the globe
by Tanya Ishikawa

Lisa Issenberg works in her Ridgway studio. “There’s so much joy around the whole process of creating awards that honor people’s accomplishments,” she says. (Photo by Elizabeth Riley)

This week, a few works of Colorado art are headed to Switzerland, Germany and Norway, among other countries called home by the winners of the Audi Birds of Prey World Cup. Designed and handcrafted in a Ridgway studio, the medals from last weekend’s ski race in Beaver Creek are just the first few by metal artist Lisa Issenberg that will be awarded this winter.

In past years, top American winter athletes also have taken home an original medal by Kiitellä, Issenberg’s studio’s name, which means “to thank, applaud, praise” in Finnish. Ten of her awards have been won by Mikaela Shiffrin, six by Megan McJames, five by Tim Jitloff, four by Ted Ligety, and two by Lindsey Vonn, to name a few.

~ See Full Article ~

This entry was posted on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Press

VAIL DAILY 11.29.17

The story behind the Birds of Prey medals
by Ross Leonhart

You won’t find participation trophies at the Birds of Prey World Cup races at Beaver Creek. For the three fastest men in three disciplines, a custom, hand-made medal awaits at the podium — made by Lisa Issenberg, of Telluride [Ridgway, CO].

“The Birds of Prey I see as a high-level, sophisticated and traditional event — gold, silver and bronze represented with a classic, clean medal,” said Issenberg, who’s been commissioned by the Vail Valley Foundation to make the medals for the Birds of Prey races for a few years now. “Whereas some of the other ones — like some of the snowboard and free skiing medals — I make a little edgier. It just depends.”

~ Full article ~

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Press

The Watch 11.30.17

Small Footprint, Outsized Potential
Microbusinesses help strengthen, diversify local economy
by Amy M. Peters

Many of this area’s businesses are based in real estate, agriculture and tourism, but the tri-county region also brims with craft manufacturers. Smaller companies may be less well-known. But they are important, because they help strengthen and diversify the economy.

Big businesses are “very unstable,” said Paul Major, the Telluride Foundation’s executive director. “They get overconcentrated (and lack) diversity, so when commodity prices go down, they’re all standing with their pants around their ankles asking, what happened to our economy here?”

See full article about 6 local businesses


This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017 and is filed under Blog, Press

SAN JUAN SKYWAY Summer/Fall 2016

Two Ridgway Artists Share A Building And A Passion
by Deb Dion Kees

The building at 609 Clinton Street is weathered, and the wooden floorboards creak when people pass over them. From the outside, the structure looks more historical than industrial, but when you step inside there is a faint smell of machinery and metal in the air, and also a little bit of creative magic.

Upstairs, artist Lisa lssenberg of Kiitella is busy polishing metal in her studio, and in the basement workshop, artist John Billings stands among a tall pile of boxes ready to be shipped. They each have their own business, but they share something in common besides the building and working as artists: They both make awards.

Kiitella creates custom awards for the outdoor in­dustry — from national skiing events including the U.S. Alpine Championships, the Audi Birds of Prey World Cups, U.S. Freeskiing & Snowboarding National Championships, and a host of other outdoor events, to non-profits such as The American Alpine Club, American Mountain Guides Association, American Avalanche Association, and American Mountaineering Museum, to outdoor product manufacturers prAna, The North Face, and Marmot, to donor recognition walls and many local organizations where she got her introduc­tion to the award-making business — her first award commission was for Telluride Mountainfilm in 1994.

lssenberg custom designs each piece, and fabri­cates using both industrial and hand techniques. The main material is metal — steel, brass, or bronze — and often incorporates other materials. Because they are handcrafted, each piece is slightly different, or “de­lightfully imperfect,” says lssenberg. “I’m so thankful the Japanese have an official term for this: wabi-sabi.”

See full article with pictures… it may take a moment to load

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 16th, 2016 and is filed under Blog, Press

Shelter Magazine 2010

by Anne Reeser
Shelter Magazine, a Watch Newspaper publication
Winter 2010-11


Lisa Issenberg’s steel and wool felt wine racks are works of art that double as functional furnishings. Currently gracing the front windows of the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art, the brightly colored pieces made from satin polished steel and 100-percent-wool felt easily capture the attention of passersby. Choose from a rainbow of felt colors and custom sizes. Call the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art for more information.


This entry was posted on Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 and is filed under Press

The Telluride Watch 2005

“Two Artists Capture Spirit & Vision of Palm Theatre”
by Josie Jay
The Telluride Watch
March 25-28, 2005

The Palm Theatre may be a performing arts venue, but two artists of another sort have used their talents to enhance the theatre with still beauty.

The donor wall in the Michael D. Palm Theatre is more than a tribute to valued donors who helped make the theatre a reality; it is a work of art. Designed by local metal artist Lisa Issenberg, the installation is a series of “petals,” each bearing the name of a theatre donor. The sculpture consists of stainless steel, cast aluminum and silver with the various sized “petals” corresponding to the size of a donation.

This is a truly exciting commission…an art piece for an art venue,” said Issenberg. “[The theatre entry] has a perfect curved wall for the piece. It’s a blank canvas, a dream for any artist.”

Issenberg said she “envisioned something floating and expansive… something in relief and dynamic” for the piece. “The wall was asking for something explosive and playful, something pouring over it or jumping off of it,” she said. “Steel translations of moving spotlights and snowstorms kept coming to mind, and eventually a bursting of abstract ‘petals.’” Issenberg drew her inspiration from “the perfect natural curves and tips of wildflower petals. I worked on the shape until it felt right.” The piece was installed this week, just in time for the theatre dedication this weekend.

Telluride Schools Superintendent Mary Rubadeau said Issenberg truly captured the school’s vision for a donor wall for something other than brass plaques mounted on wood. Issenberg delivered in style with a unique and beautiful recognition of donors to the theatre.

“Mary, Bill de Alva and the school board are a pleasure to work with,” said Issenberg. “They have been very accommodating and positive from the start.” The piece spans about 15 feet across and descends from the ceiling eight feet, protruding from the wall a few inches.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 and is filed under Press

8750 2002

“Jewelry by Lisa Issenberg”

Featured in 8750, a monthly magazine about culture@altitude

April 2002

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 and is filed under Press

Telluride Magazine 1999

“INSIDE ART: Steel Artist Lisa Issenberg”
by Rebel Muse
Telluride Magazine
Fall 1999

The beauty of everyday objects is something that has always fascinated local artist Lisa Issenberg. She recalls her days as an art student when she created linoleum cuts of toasters and blenders. “The objects we use every day are somehow invisible to many people. Andy Warhol helped change our perception—seeing the artistic merit in everyday objects by questioning their function and seeing the humor in their purpose.”

Issenberg’s own work is highly innovative, fusing steel with black and white photography to create a variety of art forms including jewelry, sculpture and furniture. Functional art is the underlying theme to most of her work. Take, for instance, her cafe chair. Is it art or is it a chair? The chair has simple lines, legs dressed in velvet stockings and a tiny photo of mountains on the backrest. You think twice about sitting on it, reluctant to turn your back to the local landscape. Still, the chair looks so inviting. This tension is how Issenberg gets her audience to reconsider what is functional.

Issenberg’s education includes a BA in social psychology from Tufts University. She’s also studied metal arts at the Rhode Island School of Design and silversmithing at the Boston Museum School of Art. She continued her fine arts education at San Francisco State University where she studied black and white photography. “I took photos in the city [San Francisco],” she says, “but my inspiration comes form nature.” Incorporating the photographs of places she loves into the work that she loves has become an Issenberg trademark. “It’s interesting to see how the impact of my black and white photographs changes in the different applications. When I put one in a necklace or bracelet, it becomes a very intimate, personal piece for the wearer. It’s something they can hold in their hand and hold sacred. When I put a photo on a larger sculpture, it draws the viewer into the piece; the sculpture now holds the viewer.”

The inspiration she finds in local scenery has evolved into an intriguing series of “bodyscapes,” where a photo of a nude is turned sideways, creating a silhouette reminiscent of a mountain landscape. The grainy images are difficult to decipher as either landscapes created from a female form or the female form of nature as she sees it. “I’m interested in that sensual point where a landscape and a human figure meet. That point is a bodyscape.”

Much of Issenberg’s current work involves sewing or stitching together different image elements. “Even though I was the one to cut up the image in the first place, when I put it back together with wire I become entwined in it. It speaks to that part of human desire to keep ourselves whole.”

This year, Issenberg experimented with sewing in a community setting. Using funds from the Telluride Council for Arts and Humanities, the School-To-Career Program and Timberline Ace Hardware, she engaged high school students in a project titled, “Our Landscape: A Collaborative Installation.” Students selected a black and white photograph of the Weminuche Wilderness by Issenberg that was then enlarged and divided into 36 sections. Every student received a section to recreate in charcoal. Each piece was dipped in wax and then the big picture was recreated from the sewn-together pieces. The 6-by-8-foot permanent installation now hangs in the foyer of the Telluride Middle/High School.

Issenberg has shared her knowledge with the community many times as one of the most sought-after teachers at the Ah Haa School for the Arts. “Teaching others helps me learn about myself,” she says. “I enjoy the challenge of putting what I do into words. Seeing other people overcome their fears or getting turned on to art is its own reward. And after working predominantly in isolation, it’s nice to work with others.”

To further her own functional arts education, Issenberg returns to school this year to pursue a master’s degree in industrial design at Pratt Institute in New York. Industrial design is nothing new to Issenberg. Last year the town commissioned her to create trashcans and recycling receptacles that can be seen on almost every corner of Telluride’s main street. Other examples of her work have sold at the Whitney Museum Store in New York City and can be found locally at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 and is filed under Press