Artist shares fiery passion with community

Buhrmester said he takes as much as 40 hours to make each piece. Justin Gilliland/HERALD

Whitney Allen

After graduating from WKU and entering the workforce, Paul Buhrmester was in search of a hobby. From that search he discovered a love of pairing flame with wood in a craft known as pyrography.

“I guarantee you, anyone you talk to has never heard that word,” Buhrmester said. 

Buhrmester diversifies his skill by trying to burn new materials, not just wood. Through his experiments, he discovered a love of gourds.

“I love gourds, I even carry around one with me,” Buhrmester said, displaying the small egg gourd kept in the pocket of his jeans. “I use it as kind of a worry stone.” 

He also keeps with him a small piece of wood he decorated hanging from a necklace, allowing him to physically carry his love of his craft daily. 

Buhrmester, a self taught artist, now works to spread the skill of his craft, teaching others at Gallery 916 on State Street throughout the year. 

The classes are welcome to anyone and all of the supplies are included.

“Normally it’s more of a free flowing class,” Buhrmester said. “It’s coming to learn the techniques, basically the art of burning.” 

Past participants have created customized signs, bottle stoppers and Christmas ornaments. 

While some come to experiment with pyrography, others come to learn with a specific purpose in mind.

Craig Taylor, a Bowling Green resident, attended Buhrmester’s November workshop. Taylor’s son is involved in marital arts and Filipino stick fighting.

In stick fighting, fighters’ wooden sticks are typically decorated. Taylor is hoping to learn to decorate sticks for his son.

He had some experience with pyrography in Boy Scouts years ago, but hasn’t done anything since.

“I’m really interested in technique,” Taylor said. “If I can get some instruction anything will help.”

Buhrmester provides individualized instruction, and teaches participants about the different types of techniques and equipment involved in pyrography. 

While Taylor’s interest in pyrography is very specific, Buhrmester’s fuel behind his passion is much broader.

“I like making things,” Buhrmester said. “When it comes down to it, it’s the actual piece. The actual gourd.” 

The next class will be held Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.