Isabel De Obaldia was born in Washington, D.C. in 1957 of French and Panamanian heritage. She studied architecture at the University of Panama and drawing at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris before receiving a BFA in Graphic Design and Cinematography from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1979. She went on to study at the Art Students League in New York in 1982 and has been going to Pilchuck Glass School since 1987, where she has studied with such masters as Jiri Harcuba and Bertil Vallien.
In 1990, she received the John Hauberg Fellowship from Pilchuck. De Obaldia has been invited on several occasions to participate in glass symposia in the Czech Republic. In 2002, she taught kiln casting at the Real Fabrica de Cristales de La Granja in San Idelfonso, Spain. She returned to La Granja as an artist in residence in 2003 and had a solo exhibition at the Museo de Arte en Vidrio de Alcorcon in Madrid in December 2003.
Once a well-known painter representing her country in international exhibitions and biennials, De Obaldia is currently forging a strong reputation as a glass sculptor. She is represented in the U.S. by New York-based gallery, Mary-Anne Martin/Fine Art, and lives in Panama with her husband and twin boys.