From: Ann Marie Dotson
Bowling Green Daily News

Art can take many forms, from oil painting on canvas to digital art to sculpting with clay.

A Bowling Green artist chose hard shell gourds to show his passion for creating art.

Paul Buhrmester, known as the artist Burned Gourd, has been creating pieces from gourds since around 2010 and uses the art of pyrography, a type of wood burning, for his designs.

“Basically, I’ve always loved doing things,” Buhrmester said. “I have always tried different jobs. The only art class I had was in seventh grade. Beyond that, I liked to tinker with everything.

Buhrmester graduated from Western Kentucky University with a degree in communications and started working at Service One Credit Union. He then decided he wanted to find something to do outside of work, so he started making ornaments.

In 2008, he became interested in pyrography.

“Someone made me try wood burning, so I bought some cheap wood and that was it,” he said.

His love of wood burning began to translate into his artistic use of gourds.

“The more I learned about this art form is what led me to use the gourds about a year or two later,” he said. “It took a lot of self-study.”

Burhmester said he started creating his art with gourds after a visit to a farmer’s market, where he spotted two dried gourds, brought them home, and began experimenting.

“I would try different things. My main focus is wood burning, but I have started to dabble in carving, cutting and inlaying,” he said.

Her designs include small items like ornaments, bottle caps and necklaces and larger items like decorative bowls and lamps, “which are very popular”.

“I also made earrings with gourds and a honey spoon or two,” he said. “It’s really cool to see the different things you can create.”

Burhmester’s artistic abilities also led him to collaborate with other artists and understand the importance of handcrafted materials, rather than mass-produced objects.

“For the most part, whatever I do, the detail makes the difference with me, and I always tell people if you find one thing you love doing, keep doing it,” he said.

His works have been exhibited throughout Kentucky, including The Gallery on The Square in Franklin, Completely Kentucky in Frankfort, and the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, which is one of his largest exhibits.

He also plans to travel to Berea in July for a craft fair.

“I will be there hopefully teaching workshops on the basics of pyrography on gourds,” he said. “That will be my goal. I love doing this, and my dream would be to teach in a classroom.

Burhmester said the exciting part of his artistic journey is where it took him.

“I could never have imagined it,” he said. “Being able to open your eyes, meet all kinds of people and discover all the different things about art, that it’s so much more than what’s hanging on the wall.”

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