Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Tom has been carving for almost fifty years and as a full time professional since 1982. Tom’s mission is to bring the feel of the outdoors into the home or office. He is known for the diversified presentation of his work, using interesting and unusual weathered natural woods along with figured hardwoods, finished rustically or matched to the colors and textures of his finished carvings. Tom is self taught and has used the experience of conquering challenges to perfect his understanding of the dynamics of specific behaviors of birds so that he can bring lifelike qualities to his work.
Ahern grew up on the eastern fringe of Pennsylvania Dutch country, just north of Allentown, PA, where he attended a one room schoolhouse for the elementary grades. After high school, he tried business school for a short time and then joined the service and became a paratrooper. After discharge, he found joy in woodworking and started making furniture for both his own use and for sale. He also started a “real job” at Bethlehem Steel.
After some encouragement from his parents, who loved vacationing on the eastern shore of Maryland, Tom started carving miniature decoys. For a few years, he gave these birds to family members as gifts and then one Christmas season, he needed some extra cash, so he took a few birds to work. He sold everything that he had available and took orders for more. This success planted a seed in his mind. He hoped that someday he would be able to support himself by carving full time.