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CARVER TURNS O.J. TRIAL INTO WOOD-BE ART

Joe Hrovat sees O.J. Simpson's murder trial as an opportunity to sharpen his skills.

As he watches the trial on television, he sketches the faces and then carves small wooden profiles of the defendant, judge, lawyers and witnesses.After eight months, what started as a way to practice woodcarving has turned into a collection of 107 pieces, some representing evidence introduced at the trial.

Hrovat exhibited his carvings at the Wisconsin State Fair last week.

"Some women walked by and said, `The O.J. trial. We're sick of it.' Most people would walk by and they'd say, `We don't like the trial, but you do beautiful work,"' he said.

Hrovat, 75, who once worked as a finisher for a maker of artificial limbs, also has built up a collection of hundreds of other carvings in his suburban Milwaukee home.

"Faces are the hardest thing to do," he said. "If you carve ducks, nobody will know if there's a mistake. If you make a face, everybody knows if it doesn't look like them."