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Woodcarver's hobby a second career

May 20, 2002

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - In 1990, Aubrey Wright wasn't sure he'd have enough money to support himself as he retired from teaching at Wilson College.

He was prepared to let his hobby - woodcarving - blossom into a new career.

Wright's woodcarving could be considered a part-time job - he works on it 20 hours a week - but he still considers himself a hobbyist.

The hobby pays for itself and provides supplemental income for the 76-year-old retiree. Wright was an auto body repairman and later taught how to calculate automobile damage estimates.

Wright's woodworking also kept his mind occupied following the 1987 death of his wife.

To develop a customer base, Wright attends Boonsborough Days, Jonathan Hager Frontier Craft Days and the Western Maryland Blues Fest. His work has been displayed at the Mansion House Art Center in City Park.

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He sells wooden songbirds, birds of prey, soldiers and carousel horses at the festivals, but he mostly goes to spread word of the business, Aubrey's World.

People pick up his business cards, resulting in at least 30 orders a year, Wright said.

He gets his inspiration for the birds from magazine pictures and for the poses from the birds that land at the numerous feeders in his rural back yard off Fording Creek Road.

Wright's original inspiration for taking up woodcarving was his son, who died in a helicopter crash in 1969. He left behind an unfinished wooden pack mule he was carving in oak.

Wright attended adult education classes in Kensington, Md., to learn the trade. He finished his son's mule in 1973.

For more information about Aubrey's World, call 1-717-597-4740.

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