Heavy metal fan?
Craftswoman Alisa, of FeLion Studios, is. And it's not the head-banging, music-blaring kind of heavy metal. It's the old steel radiator and cast iron bathtub kind of metal, and it's the substance of her art.
Alisa is a (heavy) metal designer, and her project de jour is cast iron skillets. She designs wooden molds and then casts them in the shapes of each of the 50 United States (Texas weighs almost 30 pounds!), and every one of 'em can fry up a mean scrambled egg.
It's no easy task. It's a process that she's perfected through trial and error, because cast iron — with all of the fire and brimstone needed to melt it — doesn't have the easiest of learning curves.
Alisa starts with reclaimed iron that she salvages from discarded radiators, bathtubs and other industrial castoffs. She gently breaks it down with a sledgehammer, because even though it's tough as nails, iron's brittle too. Then, she collects the pieces, melts the iron and casts the iron into a mold.
Once the red-hot iron cools, Alisa sands the skillet. Then it's fit to sizzle.
Thanks to perseverance, tenacity and hard work, Alisa has gone from making one skillet, her home state of Wisconsin, to making an art piece of the entire United States, featuring each of the 50 states.
She also sells made-to-order skillets on her website and in local specialty stores, and by doing that she's built a successful business.
Part of Alisa's success is also thanks to national recognition from Martha Stewart's "American Made" series in 2011. It catapulted this salt-of-the-earth Wisconsin girl from a small business startup to entrepreneurial stardom, and it's led to a partnership with Kaukauna Manufacturing and Lodge Manufacturing. She calls it Cook with Pride, designs by FeLion Studios.
Not only is Alisa a successful businesswoman, she's being hailed as an "iron chef" of a whole different sort. She's a cast iron chef, and she's unstoppable!