FeLion Studios is a manifestation of years spent to establish a quality and personality of functional iron products and artwork created by owner and artist Alisa Toninato. The break down of her studio name is simply the combination of materials and birth mascot : Fe being the periodic symbol for iron and driven by the radiant energy of a Leo birth date. Put together, ‘iron-lion‘ is a culmination of passion and craft that is willing to pounce upon creativity and roam across the fields of utility and fine art sculpture.
The first furnace run by FeLion networks was at Alisa’s first studio in Milwaukee WI. On a snowy Valentine’s Day 2010, the first Wisconsin skillet was born, which started the series now know as “Made In America”.
The inspirations behind making state shaped skillets was first an ode to the DIY scene that Alisa is so intimately a part of, as well as her love for home town culture and American optimism, or classically the ‘American Dream’. After months of international travel and a residency in Minnesota, she was determined to come back to Milwaukee and build her own small operation iron art foundry. Inside a whirl wind of networking, she quickly found her local crew and successfully built the wooden patterns and two-part sand moulds needed to pour her iron cast designs.
Once the Wisconsin skillet came out it was inevitable that the Midwest was soon to follow. The 7 state map in skillet form was shown that fall at the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee as part of the annual Fine Furnishings show. Over the course of the entire following year, Alisa bumped up the production of wooden patterns, devoting her craft to the challenge of building the ultimate map for ArtPrize 2011.
The final 48 contiguous state map in iron weighs approximately 550 pounds, and measures 9 ft. 6 in. horizontal, by 6 ft tall. A Kickstarter project was created to help fund the last 28 states of the map to be finished by September 2011 for show in DeVos Convention Center in Grand Rapids Michigan. The entry accomplished a “top 25″ vote in the competition among some 1700 artists from all over the world, and one of the most beautiful stories of bootstrapping artists coming together to help a friend get an idea done.