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Artist Thomas Dambo, creator of Isak Heartstone, will build a new troll sculpture in Teller County

Isak Heartstone
Posted at 3:44 PM, Jul 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-11 12:36:22-04

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — The beloved Isak Heartstone troll in Breckenridge is about to get a new friend in Teller County.

If you haven't encountered Isak Heartstone before, here's what you need to know: He's a 15-foot wooden troll created with locally sourced scrap wood and materials by Danish recycle artist and activist Thomas Dambo. Isak is one of the many art installations that has made Dambo's work famous worldwide.

Isak Heartstone
Isak Heartstone in Breckenridge

Now, the Gold Camp District Impact Group (gcDIG), a nonprofit charitable organization, is preparing to welcome its own troll to the Cripple Creek and Victor communities in southern Teller County.

In late June, Dambo announced a new project called "Way of the Bird King," in which he road trips from Vermont across the country to Washington and builds 10 trolls and thousands of birdhouses along the way. One of his stops for troll-building is Colorado.

Kim Lottig, CEO of gcDIG, said the partnership came together thanks to "a little dreaming, a moment of reaching out, and a lot of synchronicity."

Parts of the troll — which is unnamed as of now — will be made in Dambo's workshop in Copenhagen and then be shipped to Teller County. With help from five to eight team members, plus a few local carpenters and five to seven daily volunteers, Dambo will finish and install the troll in an undisclosed location in the county. The build dates run July 27 through Aug. 4, 2023.

"This beautiful work of art will be here for years to come and will represent a new era of vitality, stewardship, and hope in our community," the gcDIG wrote on Facebook.

While the troll's mood and posture is a secret until the unveiling, Lottig said it is "very much here to heal the earth and our relationship with it." There will be three different ways to access the site where the troll will live.

Artist Thomas Dambo, creator of Isak Heartstone, will build a new troll sculpture in Teller County

The first festival to celebrate the troll is scheduled for Aug. 4-5 in Victor.

"As we help build it, we will raise awareness of Teller County and bring people from all over to find the Troll, boosting business to Cripple Creek and the surrounding areas," the gcDIG said.

The nonprofit is trying to raise $50,000. Donations are welcome through the nonprofit's GoFundMe. Volunteers can help with the build, but must email by Wednesday.

This new troll will be the second one Dambo has created in Colorado.

Isak Heartstone was the first, and was installed in 2018 for the Breckenridge International Festival of Arts. However, problems quickly arose, as the sculpture attracted thousands of people every month. Trash was discarded on the ground, visitors trampled vegetation to take shortcuts and nearby residents complained of overcrowding, noise and parking issues. The Breckenridge Town Council voted to dismantle the piece in mid-November 2018 and town employees began removing it two days later.

Troll no more: Breckenridge removes Isak Heartstone; future of giant wooden troll uncertain

The town set up a task force to find a new home for the sculpture. A spokesperson said some of the pieces were kept in a storage facility in the meantime.

In February 2019, town officials announced they had reached a deal with Dambo to rebuild the troll that spring. Isak Heartstone was reassembled in his new and current location — near the Illinois Gulch Trailhead — in May 2019, with the help of Dambo.

Breckenridge troll gets new home

The short trail leading to the troll's new home officially opened in June 2019.

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