"The Doug Lindsey Story"

By: Christine Edwards

As printed in the Hometown News; Jan. 29, 2016


Melbourne, FL -- Doug Lindsey, 73, has been carving art out of bits of wood since the 1970's but he had to teach himself how to carve all over again, a few years ago, after a medical condition took most of his fingers.

The partial amputation of two fingers on his left hand and all of the fingers and thumb on his right hand meant Mr. Lindsey, a Melbourne resident, had to learn how to create art in a new way, but did not diminish the quality of the walking sticks, relief carvings and other artwork he creates with palm tools, and a chisel and mallet set.

"I'm in awe of him," said Tom Ansetett, president of Space Coast Wood Carvers, a wood carving club with a 25 year history in Brevard.

But Mr. Anstett isn't the only one with those sentiments.

"Everybody in that club is talented, but even the elders look up to Doug," Mr. Anstett said. "He's a phenomenal carver and person and his drive is a boost to a lot people."

Mr. Lindsey has been carving for decades, but had to relearn how to use palm tools, which are used in wood carving, following a medical condition that surfaced after a heart transplant in February 2012. He spent three months in ICU and five months rehabilitating. During recovery, he also had to learn how to walk all over again.

"The Lord blessed me in so many different ways," Mr. Lindsey said. "I can use the palm tools almost as well as when I carved before."

The talented carver creates walking sticks, relief carvings and other artwork from all different types of wood, as well as dried sweet potatoes.

He also makes carvings of Santa Claus from Christmas trees and tiny baskets out of walnut shells for his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He tints some of his pieces with stains and oil paints.

Karen Turley, a friend of Mr. Lindsey's since elementary school, recalled the layered details on a rolling pin Mr. Lindsey recently carved for his wife.

"You cannot tell any difference," she said. "He is as good now as before he was injured."

Mr. Lindsey's inspiration varies and is often based on the shape of the wood pieces he is working with, but many of the finished carvings take the form of the sun, moon or Santa Claus. The men and women who appear in his artwork often bear an uncanny resemblance to depictions of Farther Time and Mother Earth.

On Thursday mornings, Mr. Lindsey attends the Space Coast Wood Carvers meetings at the Eau Gallie Civic Center. He enjoys the club's camaraderie and said he is considering teaching classes in the near future to help carvers learn more about their craft.

"I wish we had more of him in this world," Mr Anstett said. "It would be a much kinder place."

Through the years, Mr. Lindsey's carvings have won many awards. At last year's "Artistry in Wood Show," his carving won the "Carver's Choice" award, which is the Space Coast Wood Carvers' highest honor. Mr. Lindsey's "Man of all Seasons," a relief carving of an old man's face hidden behind dozens of intricately carved leaves, claimed the award.

Mr. Lindsey is currently working on a relief carving he named "Lady of the Orchard," which he hopes to enter into this year's Artistry in Wood Show. The piece centers on a woman's face that is surrounded by apples, leaves and branches. The woman appears to be peering out of the foliage. As with his other work, this piece is incredibly detailed.

The "Man of All Seasons" is Mr. Lindsey's favorite carving to date, but he wonders if his latest piece will win him over once it's finished.

Space Coast Wood Carvers has almost 70 members and holds functions, such as picnics and holiday parties throughout the year. The club also brings in renowned carvers to hold workshops that often span several days and teach skills to help members perfect wood burning and bark and relief carvings.

Each year, members display their carvings at the "Artistry in Wood Show," which also features demonstrations, items for sale, food, a raffle and an awards presentation

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© 2009 SCWC ; Melbourne, Florida