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Retired Boilermaker creates life-sized sculptures

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Edward Goodhart, in his North Providence, Rhode Island, shop takes a break from detail work.

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The boy wielding a hockey stick is the first life-sized sculpture Edward Goodhart created.

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The statue of St. André Bessette now resides at St. Joseph Oratory at Mount-Royal in Montreal.

Goodhart’s work is on display in homes and churches

A BOY WIELDING a hockey stick, a Canadian Catholic saint, a colorful turtle — these are some of Local 29 (Boston) retiree Edward Goodhart’s creations. In the 10 years since his retirement, Goodhart has combined his Boilermaker skills with sculpting techniques to bring his ideas to life using metal, wood and stone at his North Providence, Rhode Island, home.

When Goodhart was young, he wanted to be an artist. He thought he’d revisit that desire by taking a drawing class, since he loved to sketch as a child. He quickly realized drawing wasn’t his forte any longer, so he learned new skills. He began dabbling in creating art using chainsaws, chisels and carving tools.

In his first artistic attempt, he fashioned a turtle during sculpting class. He soon moved up in scale, making a 280-pound, 5-foot statue of the neighbor boy playing hockey. He created the bone structure by welding together the iron interior, then he covered the structure with plaster cloth followed by plaster of Paris. After molding it to make it look like his neighbor, he painted clothing and facial details onto the sculpture.

His latest creation is an oak statue of the French-Canadian saint André Bessette, known as Brother André, who was Goodhart’s great-great uncle. Goodhart carved the 7-foot statue from an oak tree in his backyard. The trunk weighed around 400 pounds when he hoisted it on wheels and hauled it into his workshop.

After using a chainsaw to cut away most of the wood, Goodhart used a power carver for detail work on the face, clothes and hat. To complete the statue, he carved a dove out of sandstone and shaped lilies out of iron. The project took him around nine months to complete, with a bit of time off to heal from an accident. Goodhart donated the statue to St. Joseph Oratory at Mount-Royal in Montreal, a basilica and national shrine which Brother André petitioned to build nearly a century ago.

Goodhart plans to continue creating art. He said there’s always some new idea floating around him, which makes his hobby exciting and new every time he picks up a tool.

“I get an image in my head, and I can create it in all these different mediums,” he said. “When I’m creating something, time flies by.”

Locals  L-29
Published on the Web: November 2, 2017

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