ARTIST SERIES: When you’ve hung around Carbondale long enough, you come to notice a ubiquitous handful of couples that seem to– well, ‘have it.’ That something we each strive for: connection, love, support, and pride in what we share with a significant someone. Michael and Jenny Lindsay are one of those couples. Fabricator and artist Michael is a pillar to our arts scene, with many pieces around town. Whether playful, contemplative or provocative, they’re standing landmarks to our sense of place here in the valley. Ahead, Jenny interviews the love of her life about one of his– Editor
Just Playing Around
Written by Jenny Lindsay
Michael Lindsay Sculpture and Design was formed in 1995. For the past 23 years, Mike has created metal works of wonder throughout the Roaring Fork Valley.
Working from his studio at Starpony Acres, Mike creates bespoke metal art and furniture. Mike works closely with clients to imagine what they are looking for and make it a reality. The result is solid design and fabrication, heirloom quality work that is functional and fun. Mike believes that modern metal is moving away from the look of traditional blacksmithing and toward more contemporary clean lines.
Starpony Acres is a labor of love, a studio and home for Mike and his family that he designed and built with the help of some fine and patient people. Five years; found and reclaimed materials including windows, doors, a stainless steel spa, sucker rod (used for oil and gas drilling) railings, lots of rocks, a palatial chicken coop, a shipping container and much more.
The driveway is lined with metal sculpture created by Michael over the years. Winding paths lead through pinion and juniper. The slant of the valley provides an inspiring view of the horses at the ranch next door. Mike’s studio is filled with tools that help him to bend, stretch, and forge metal into unexpected shapes. Design and fabrication of sculpture, lighting, furniture, fire surrounds, kitchen hoods and railings keep the studio humming with activity. Metal Mike can make anything.
In the future, classes for adults and children are part of the plan. Welding, bronze casting and blacksmithing. Shaping metal is a magical gift that Mike hopes to make accessible to anyone with the desire.
“Metal is faster and more forgiving than wood and I love manipulating material with heat. It’s strength and permanence work better for outdoor applications.”
When did you decide to be a maker?
“I remember ceramic class in grade school, using my hands to make socially recognizable objects. The first thing I made was a blue whale; still have it. Finding the 3D department in college was life-changing for me. I found my home and was influenced by like-minded students and professors.”
On being in the zone:
“Time does not exist, I can work for hours and achieve an overwhelming feeling of joy and accomplishment.”
“I grew up in Deerfield, Illinois. In school, we would take field trips to museums and public art exhibits in Chicago. Seeing the monumental art from Calder, Picasso, Chagall, and Miró left me in awe. My family is one of artists; my six siblings and parents were always creating. My mother and sisters are painters and a fabric artist, my brothers and father, woodworkers. At Northern Michigan University I had some very inspiring art professors and the 3D department at the time was inspiring and competitive, bringing out the best in everyone.”
How does your work represent who you are?
“I am always trying to transform and improve the environment around me. Working with found objects is very similar in that I’m transforming the junk into something that I think is meaningful, giving it another life.”
How is your work relevant?
“In a throwaway society, I find there is an incredible amount of waste and I want to squeeze a little more fun out of objects that others have discarded. The studio at Starpony Acres is probably 80% reclaimed material, from Habitat of the Roaring Fork Valley, local ranches, and drilling operations.
What about ornamental work like furniture, chandeliers, and fireplace surrounds?
“That is generally made from new material, but if a client’s game we can create a functional work from repurposed objects.”