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Sculptor puts tools to work on school art

Sculptor Dewey Goodwin finished a sculpture of a bald eagle grasping a sucker that will grace the front entrance of the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Ship School's entrance at a special ceremony Tuesday in Bena. Monte Draper | Bemidji Pioneer

BENA - "Tough, tough rock," sculptor Dewey Goodwin said after he takes his hat off and rubs his brow.

Goodwin just completed a bald eagle sculpture out of Dolomite, a carbonate mineral often used as an ornamental stone, which will grace the front entrance of the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School near Bena.

The rock sculpture began as a 2,000-pound rectangular piece of stone, and once completed, the Bemidji artist shed more than 500 pounds from the rock.

"It would have nice to have a wider piece," Goodwin said. "This one was affordable for the project."

The project was made possible by a collaboration grant with the Minnesota State Artist Board, Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig and Goodwin. It was only fitting he selected a native stone from the Winona area.

Goodwin says he personally picked up the stone last August. Because of the weight, he made an outside platform and began carving in September until it was too cold to continue working on it.

He resumed carving in March.

"March's weather was a gift, I really hit it hard," he said.

Asked how many hours he put into the sculpture, he laughed.

"I spent a full 10 hours one day using 800 grit wet sandpaper to finish it," Goodwin said. "That much I do know."

It wasn't an easy piece to make.

"It was a very difficult rock, very pity, super tough to get detail," said Goodwin. "Actually, I had to adjust my style because it was too fragile. I wish I would have made the working base taller.

"I spent many hours on my knees, crawling around it. I couldn't move it or rotate it."

According to Goodwin, he even went fishing to catch some suckers to use as a model. The sculpture has the bald eagle grasping a sucker.

"I really put my tools to the test on this one," Goodwin said.

More than 50 percent of the work was sawing the stone into its working shape.

On Tuesday, a special ceremony will be held as the 1,500 sculpture will rest on a 1,000 pound base at the Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig School.