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Visit to Paul Burdett's Gallery October 1991

Paul Burdett

( - ) Toronto, Canada

Paul Burdett was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, as the middle child and the only boy of his parents. He was interested in the Canadian wildlife as a child and took a keen interest in hunting and fishing. He got into carving after making a few rough decoys for hunting.

His first career was as a superintendent of Otis Elevator Company where he worked for twenty-six years. He carved while he worked, during his nights and weekends and eventually started to compete and in 1974 he took home the Ward World Championship in the Decoy Pairs competition, and second place in 1976 in the life-size decorative division. In 1977 he started building his own gallery, which he called the Burdette Studio. It took him three years to complete the gallery and what is remarkable about this feat is the fact he did it while holding down a steady career and built the studio without any plans. The studio ended up being roughly 6,000 square feet. When the studio was complete in 1980 he quit his job at Otis and went to work full time as a carver and instructor at the studio. His wife, Dolly, and his sons, Glenn and Mark helped him run the gallery as he instructed his classes.

He was one of the first people to hold a Wildfowl Sculpting school and throughout his years he reckons that he has taught somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 people. He says that he is not afraid to teach others how to carve. “If the talent is there it’s going to come out,” and that most of the people that he teaches will never be as good as he is.

Paul and Dolly sold their studio in 2000 and retired to Alliston, Canada. Paul still continues to carve.

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