Rest In Peace, Paul Burnett

As Paul’s cancer elevated to Level 4, we knew death was imminent. That was around the first of December. I watched him paint his last feather for a friend about a week later. I didn’t know it then or I think I would have filmed it because watching him paint was as fascinating as a finished feather! We thought he would still be able to do some work for a while but when it hit, it hit with a vengeance.

He didn’t want to live just sitting around in a chair, which was very hard for him because he was a non- stop worker, planner, thinker, etc., his mind never stopped. We had many, many talks and reminiscing conversations about his career, the guild shows we went to before Paige started school and we weren’t able to take off like we did when it was just the two us. Not that we minded, she is our joy. We did still keep in touch with many friends, and the feather business continued to grow. We are now in our 30th year.

One morning he asked me to write a message to his friends in the leather world, which was his world and it is this, “I thank everybody I’ve met through these many years for their loyalty. It has been an honor to have met, taught and shared this craft with so many wonderful and creative people. My darling Sue is going to continue on with the feather line and keep the web site going. I hope my knowledge will have ongoing benefit to those who desire to learn our wonderful art and craft.

So it is with the deepest gratitude and love, our children and I thank all of you for the marvelous memories you’ve expressed on behalf of his talent and character. They mean the world to us! He ended by saying, “I ask that my epitaph be: The people I taught, who wanted to learn.

May this wonderful, talented, beautiful, kind and generous man rest in peace.


- Karen Burnett

Comments (approved upon review)




Posted by M.K. Holloway on Feb 28th, 2012

Paul Burnett was an incredible teacher. Extremely generous with his knowledge. His books, tutorials, and work were classics during his life time. He was and will always be an inspiration to me as I work to perfect my craft. Thank you Paul Burnett.
Regards and best to his wife and family.
M.K. Holloway
Dallas, TX.

Posted by Hilary Stencil on Feb 28th, 2012

Rest in peace, Paul. Thank you for sharing your time and talent, and helping us to learn a fine craft.

Posted by Ms. PJ LaRue Smith on Feb 28th, 2012

Dear Karen,

While I did not have the honor of meeting Paul, his work and instructional material has truly
blessed my life! As an avid fan of Alphonse Mucha myself, I was delighted to see Paul's exquisite portrayal of one of Mucha's works. It has inspired me to branch out into such ventures myself! A leather artist with such a heart to teach is going to be sorely missed in the leather working world!

You and your family are in my prayers during this difficult time.

Posted by Doraliz Ramoa on Feb 28th, 2012

It was in the early months of 2009 that I began to discover my passion for leather tooling. I went on line to learn from the experts and it was Paul's web site the one that touched my senses of inquisity and enhanced my love as well as my knowledge. I inmidiatelly sign up to receive his newsletters with many and wondeful project that helped me developed my own stile. I will like to thank Paul for sharing his knowledge and inspiration and for helping me develop into the artist that I am today. Heaven have gain an artists and his legacy will continue here on earth. We will make you proud. Thank you so much.

Posted by Johanne Lang-Davis on Feb 28th, 2012

Paul was an Incredibly talented artist and was also extremely generous with his knowledge and expertise helping many others along his way. Thank you Paul you will be missed.

Posted by Steve Stewart on Feb 28th, 2012

About 3 years ago I received Paul's correspondence course on carving a Kestral. I believe that in that course or on the Painting Cow web-site was his offer to give personal feedback if needed. I carved the Kestral but the feathers didn't quite look right. I sent him a picture and soon thereafter received in the mail the step by step correct way to carve these feathers demonstrated on a piece of scrap...and signed by Paul. I have never forgotten this kindness. I am so sorry he is gone. It has been an honor to learn from this master artist and leather carver. I offer my profound sympathy and regard to his family. This was a man to be proud of!

Posted by Cathy Schlim on Feb 28th, 2012

It is sad when I hear of one more of our great leather talents has passed. Paul's published work goes back many years and I have them in my library of leather publications so I can access them frequently. Paul and his talent will be missed by many. RIP Paul and best wishes to his family. Cathy Schlim, Sacramento, CA

Posted by Rhonda Zinkel on Feb 28th, 2012

You will be missed Paul. Your work, and teaching, was so special and distinctively "you". I will forever be thankful for the help I received from you and feel blessed to have have the tutorials that I have from you. You have been, and will continue to be, an inspiration.

Posted by DeeAnna Weed on Feb 28th, 2012

Whenever I see an example of Paul's work, pin my Burnett feather brooch onto my blouse, or revisit one of his tutorials or lessons, I am amazed by Paul's mastery of his craft. I have also been touched by the deep commitment he had to teach his craft to others. Few people have the ability to teach well and inspire students ... Paul did. My world is lessened by his passing.

Posted by Allen Heffler on Feb 28th, 2012

Dear Karen,
My deepest sympathy for your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.


Posted by Dave on Feb 28th, 2012

I will miss Paul very much. His work in leather carving and instructions are untouchable. I have learned a lot from his books and teachings. They are clear and easy to follow.

We don't have anyone as TALLENTED as he was. No one can come close to his work.

Happy Carving, Paul


Posted by john barton on Feb 28th, 2012

Paul's books have been a tremendous influence on how we approach decorating leather. This is a sad time for all of us who have been able to learn from him. But he will live forever in the work of countless generations of leatherworkers who will use his timeless techniques on this timeless material. Thank you Paul and may you now paint the sky.

Posted by Travous Lucas on Feb 28th, 2012

Goodbye my friend, you will be missed greatly by those left here. Remember to save a place for me next to your new workbench.

Posted by George Mooers on Feb 28th, 2012

Rest in Peace, Paul; from one of the legion of students you never knew, but you taight us jut the same. Give my regards to al and ann and the rest of our luminaries who have gone on before you ... you will be sorely missed and remembered every time I pick up one of your many lessons.

Posted by Jan Housman on Feb 28th, 2012

I love to learn about the art of leather working. I read everything and then practice what I have learned. Thank you Paul for sharing. I am in my 40th year of leather working, and still feel like a beginner in many ways. So sorry to say good bye to Paul, but he will live on in what he has taught me and so many others.

Posted by Dale Petersen on Feb 28th, 2012

What a loss to the Leather Community.

Posted by Anne Newkold on Feb 28th, 2012

Paul will be missed very much. Paul offered something for everyone, patterns and lessons for the beginner to more intense designs to challenge those at the Master level. He was a very generous man with his willingness to share the craft. He always had an encouraging word for everyone. I had the pleasure of meeting Paul at the PA guild show. Wishing I would have had the chance to know him better. May he R.I.P. in that perfect Leather shop in heaven.

Posted by Don on Feb 28th, 2012

My deepest sympathy over your loss. I will cherish the fond memories of all the times you, Paul, Mary & I shared at various shows. He will be missed. My best to you.

Posted by John Gresham on Feb 28th, 2012

I never had the pleasure to meet Paul except through the lessons. I really appreciate the though that went into them and his desire to share his knowladge with the world. Paul will be missed by many. My prayers go out to you and your family.

Posted by Luis Paulo on Feb 28th, 2012

Going to work this morning I was thinking about the marvelous eagle head that he made .... And now I open my email box and read the email....

I'm really really sorry...

Posted by Laura Linett on Feb 28th, 2012

I am heartbroken to hear he is gone. I have learned so much from him and I will never be able to thank him now. I am new to leatherwork and as I struggle with beveling and the other new skills one must master with this art I found Paul's website. His clear wise words have continued to give me understanding with the best "ah-ha" momemts "I get it now!" what a wonderful artist and teacher! What a loss to us all. My deepest condolences to his family. Thank you for keeping the web site going as I would really like to collect and learn from his many wonderful lessons and see his beautiful and inspirational work.

RIP Paul Burnett and thank you.

Posted by Peter Main on Feb 28th, 2012

...and what an honor is was to meet Paul back in the eighties. Have admired greatly his work over these years, and shall now treasure the feather ear rings I asked him to make last December. Paul is a great loss to the the leather community...his teachings will live on forever.

Posted by David Ziemer on Feb 28th, 2012

I never had the pleasure of meeting Paul. But I fell in love with his inovative style of teaching and his art style. He always seemed to put 110% into every publication and work he did. He will be missed but not Forgotten.Our prayers go out to everyone his Artisic Soul Touched.

Posted by Charles A Wolfe on Feb 28th, 2012

He will be missed....

Posted by Vickie Baker on Feb 28th, 2012

I met Paul at the Guild Show in Fort Worth, Texas in 2007. I was not fortunate enough to take his workshop, but last year I talked to Paul and asked to purchase the instructions for the piece he did that weekend. He was so kind as to permit me to teach that workshop and sent me the piece he did for the workshop, which he signed for me. He told me then that we all should share all we knew of this craft and that he was happy that I wanted to teach this workshop for him and encouraged me to teach other of his workshops as well. I have them all now and show them and will teach these things to my customers and students. I am so sorry for your loss and know you will miss him greatly. We will all miss him and his talent as well as his ability to teach others.

Posted by Dwayn Draper on Feb 28th, 2012

A great man, teacher, and a very talented artist on many levels. Be proud Paul your work and lessons will live on with every artist you helped along the way, Im honored to be one of them.
Best wishes to the family...R.I.P.

Posted by Joe Talbott on Feb 28th, 2012

I will miss Paul very much. He taught me many things that I wished to know, and he was very humble about it. When I viewed his video on painting the Big Horn Ram, he looked tired, but still had the energy to do the video. His lessons and videos are being placed in a special area of my workshop. Rest in peace Paul. You've reached many people, now it's time to show the angels above how it's really done.

Posted by Dave Briggs on Feb 28th, 2012

It is 11:15pm Karen and I'm finally getting to my emails. After reading your email I sat stunned for what seemed an eternity. From our last phone conversation it was apparent that time was running out for Paul, but it was still a shock. I've been very privileged to have taken a number of courses at various shows from Paul. He has made me and I'm sure many others look at how to make leather come alive. We have lost a wonderful man, teacher and caring person, and will forever leave a very large hole in the leather world. I know of NO ONE that could match his knowledge,carving and ability to teach. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Mark Symonds on Feb 28th, 2012

Even tho I only started leatherwork a few years ago and even tho I'm on the other side of the world here in Australia, it was with great sadness that I read, first of Pauls sickness and then of his passing away. One could tell, from what he "gave" to the craft community that Paul was one of those fellows you wish would just carry on forever. I guess in a way thru his lessons and works he will.Its these memories we hold.
Thanks Paul and rest amongst the feathers of softness and comfort.

Posted by Barrie Bailey on Feb 28th, 2012

Paul will be sorely missed by so many leatherWorkers. Those of us who had the opportunity to discuss our problems with him have lost a great teacher. I will treasure my collection of Paul Burnett publications. May he rest in peace.

Posted by Nancy Shaffer on Feb 29th, 2012

I started working leather in the 70's and have some of Paul's books. I was excited when I met Paul and he gave me his autograph at the IFOLG show in Butler,Pa I have it framed and on the window sill of my shop, A few years ago I took one of his bird classes with the Pitt Pounders. He was a great teacher and I am proud to have known him.I will always treasure the bird I made under his supervision and it will always remind me of him. May you all be comforted knowing how much he was loved by his piers and his students.

Posted by Vadim on Feb 29th, 2012

Sad news …RIP Paul Burnett. He was very talented and creative person.

Posted by William R. Miles on Feb 29th, 2012

To the Burnett Family i send my heart felt condolences and prayers.. One of my first experiences in the late 1970's in working with leather was reading Creative Belt Stamping by Paul Burnett and i made a belt for myself using one of his patterns from that book which i still have today.. I had the Pleasure of meeting Mr. Burnett at the 2006 show in Butler Pa. and it was very easy to approach him and ask questions and he freely & happily shared his knowledge.. Mr. Burnett is and will be Greatly Missed by all.. God Bless!!

Posted by Julicia Hernandez on Feb 29th, 2012

I am very Sorry for you and your family's loss and I hope you find solace that he is in no pain and is doing his feathers for the angels in Heaven. I am truely blessed to have found his works so I could oneday be a great artist as he was
God Bless you

Posted by Derek Hale on Feb 29th, 2012

I never met Paul but did purchase his lessons,and through them I felt that I had got to know him. It was a sad day when he passed away.My deepest sympathy to you and your family.
May he rest in peace. All of our thoughts here in Queensland Australia are with you.

Posted by Chris Kearns on Feb 29th, 2012

Paul was such a gifted and talented artist in so many mediums, yet his knowledge and skills in leather working are how so many of us have come to know him. His clear, practical teachings have helped countless people improve their skills and grow as an artist. He had such a passion for teaching and sharing his knowledge, yet he was extremely patient and understanding. I have been blessed to have spent time with Paul and learned so many things from him. I am a better leather artist, and a better person because of it. May we all keep his legacy alive by sharing what we have learned from Paul as willingly as he shared it with us. He will be missed greatly.

Posted by Gerda van der Stroom - de Jong on Feb 29th, 2012

Dear Sue I am sad to hear that Paul has past away, he was a Huge inspiration for me and some friends here in the Netherlands. I have had the great uppertunity to enjoy your hospatallity with my sister in 1990 we had a great visit learning talking and the Elvis things, these are beloved memories, we still had contact over the years that we keep for ever in our harts. PAUL Thank you for beïng YOU.
Wish you Sue and all of your family great strength Toi Toi Toi Gerda

Posted by Tommy Hillgren on Feb 29th, 2012

A very generous man is gone and the world of leathercraft is missing a great entrepenour that has made so much to keep this art alive!
Sharing your work and methods has made an impact on me aswell as thousands of others!
In every swivelcut and bevel I make there is a piece of Paul in it.

RIP Paul

Tommy Hillgren, Sweden

Posted by Akimova Svetlana on Feb 29th, 2012

Goodbye Paul, may God accept you to rest in peace. I have lost dear friends to cancer, I did not know your situation, I am so sorry. You were very kind to me, even that we have never met, little advise here and there and just confidence that if I have questions I could always ask you about it. I never really did, but I knew I could. I wanted to send you a picture of how my work improved since I've got your free lessons, but didn't as every time I was rereading your tutorials I found my faults and didn't want to upset you. Anyway we were strangers to each other,and I am not even in the Sates anymore, now on the other end of the world in Russia I can't stop tears since I've found out that you are gone. I would love to make a feather once, I always wanted to get around to doing it, I will find out how and each one I make hence will be in your memory.
Missing you,
Svetlana from Moscow Russia

Posted by Susan Dunsworth on Feb 29th, 2012

Dear Karen,

Thank you so very much for the notice. I was so amazed and gratified when Paul took the time to reply to my questions personally and give me his time last year. I feel the loss of this talented and generous man. Bless you and your family in this time of sadness.


Posted by Wayne and Sharron Schedler on Feb 29th, 2012

Our eyes welled with tears to hear of the passing of Paul to Eternal Glory. We will always remember his gentle ways and beautiful art work. I was wearing a bolo tie Paul made that I had won in a show raffle when I received the news. I took his carving class at another show and then won his Ram's Head carved belt buckle in that is sitting above my workbench as a mini-framed picture. It will now become a shrine. Rest in Peace Paul!! What a wonderful talent you have passed on to many other carvers...the great and the "small"!
Peace on Earth, Wayne and Sharron

Posted by charley on Feb 29th, 2012

A True Gentleman, Paul was an outstanding artist, and an outstanding person. Very generous with his time, and very encouraging of other people. Paul's strengths, styles, and talents are rare -- he will be missed. There's a reason he was the First Al Stohlman Award Winner -- you can't find work like his anywhere else, though many of us try to emulate him.

Posted by Sally on Feb 29th, 2012

I learned so much from Paul. His talent was so impressive, not only in his work, but also in the way he presented his lessons. He is truly a master who will be missed.

Posted by Lori on Feb 29th, 2012

thank you for giving me the start I needed to discover leather.

If it had not been for you I would have never got started.

There are few people in the world that can touch so many hearts

Rest In peace

Posted by Karen Siems on Feb 29th, 2012

I am so sorry to hear the news of Pauls passing. It is a great loss to our leather community. A couple years ago he sent me an email congratulating me on one of my pieces that had won something and telling me he thought I had done a really good job on it. That meant so much to me coming from such a distinguished talent. We will miss the teacher as well as the man.

Posted by Todd Barber on Feb 29th, 2012

I am ever so greatful to have had the opportunity to be one of Paul's students in the 1980's and beyond. He was a "MASTER" in his field! To share that which he had learned with countless hours at the bench with so many others, is a real testament to the man and his selflessness toward others. I will treasure my one on one instruction with him and my fond memories of visits to his studio and times shared with Karen. May the spirit of his hand and brush be with you Karen as you carry on with Paul's legacy.

Posted by Tor Rougseth on Feb 29th, 2012

Thank you Paul.

Posted by Aimee Bligan on Feb 29th, 2012

Karen: I remember when we first met you and Paul. That was so
very long ago. Now all the leaathercrafters in heaven can get
togther and still practive their craft. I have leather feather
earrings that Paul made for me when we first met you both. I will treasure them even more now. Bless you and your family in
this difficult time of losing the one you love. God Bless

Posted by Vicki Brown on Mar 1st, 2012

Karen, My deepest sympathies for your loss! It is so hard to lose a soul mate! I can just see all the leather guys in heaven lining up to get one more lesson!! I know I would be too!! My prayers go out to you and the family!

Posted by King's X Leatherworks on Mar 1st, 2012

We've lost another master leather craftsman. Mr. Paul Burnett was the first winner of the Al Stohlman Award for Excellence in Leather Craft. I started in leather craft not too many years back and I did not have the pleasure of knowing Mr. Burnett. I did learn much from his books and many articles. I recently completed a mouse pad project using his instructions from an article many years ago. I was honored to receive his approval through a comment. May you rest in eternal peace!

Posted by Fran Kelso on Mar 1st, 2012

Dear Karen,

I am so glad I had a chance get to know Paul a little and to enjoy his wonderful feather art! What a wonderful, warm, helpful and talented man -- it was always a pleasure talking with him. I am so sorry he has left us. We will miss him a great deal.

Posted by Rick Tesinsky on Mar 1st, 2012

I have been an admirer of his work for many years. I own some of his material and was very proud to be a subscriber to his tutorials. My only conversations with Paul were through emails so I never had the honor of meeting him in person. Still, I feel like I knew him and feel like I lost a friend.

Rest in peace Paul....

Posted by Gisela Bendel on Mar 1st, 2012

Dear Karen and family,

Although I knew of Paul’s sickness I was shocked to read that Paul has passed away. I would like to send you and your family my deepest sympathy for this great loss. I met you and Paul on April 1989 during the Jamboree and remember very often at this time. During the show you presented me a pair of Paul’s Peacock earrings. This was a great pleasure for me and I treasure them very much as well as all the publications and instructions Paul has made.

Whenever I had a question about leather work, I could ask him and he has helped me. He was a guide and great teacher for so many leather crafters all over the world and will be deeply missed. I have made many leather projects after his instructions and they will remember me always to Paul.

I wish you and your family great strength. May God bless you and your family in this time of sadness.

Gisela from Germany

Posted by Chris Comeaux on Mar 2nd, 2012

I have been getting custom raptor feather earrings from Paul for about 6 or 7 years,we have had many a phone conversation on what a certain feather should look like,I will miss that. When he told me that the cancer was back I was heartbroken. Paul had become a real friend just from our talks on the phone. Rest in Peace Paul. Karen and Paige,I'm very sorry for your loss.


Posted by Eddie Collins on Mar 2nd, 2012

I have some of his instruction books on belts and figure carving. Now I will take more care of these books. Thanks Paul for sharing to the world your knowledge of leathercarving. RIP

Posted by Mary Judge on Mar 3rd, 2012

Karen and family,
My deepest sympathies to all of you. Paul was such a very talented man. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Mary Judge/ SVDP

Posted by Richard Ramsey on Mar 3rd, 2012

Dear Karen

I am sorry for your lost. I had a chance to take a class with Paul in Indianapolis, Indiana in April of 2007. For me, it was an eye opener. Paul showed me how to better use my skills and help take me to a higher level. I have some of his books but I also bought a tool from Bob Beard that Paul use. It has his intials PB on the tool. It is a grass tool a F926. I use this tool for various effects. I never used this tool before Paul's class. I use this tool for highlights in flowers, trees and grass. I wanted to take more classes from Paul and my work schedule won't let me. That was one of the gifts Paul had, you wanted to learn more. Thank you Paul for what you have given me.

Thank you Karen.

Posted by Christopher fey on Mar 4th, 2012

What a great guy to share his talent with us all. May you rest in peace Paul.

Posted by Leon Sevier on Mar 4th, 2012

My condolences to the Burnett family. I first met Paul through his articles in the various leather magazines, and I admired him and is work from the beginning. Then it was his books and his early introductory lessons. I feel his instructions are the best and most complete out there. One of my greatest pleasures was to be able to meet Paul and take a class from him in Sheridan. What a wonderful man and talent! You will be greatly missed, Paul!


Posted by Alan Dent on Mar 5th, 2012

My deepest sympathy to Karen. It was with shock that I learnt of Paul's passing. I can thank Paul firstly for his wonderful book on leather belts that I purchased over thirty years ago and which resulted in many, many sales of belts for myself. Then a few years ago I purchased Paul's online instructions on "Realistic Leather Carvings". This is one of the best investments I have ever made as my leather pictorials suddenly became more lifelike...and more saleable! And it was through Paul's encouragement to give acrylic painting a try that I worked through his Kestrel tutorial and was pleasantly surprised with the results and which has had a major impact on my career. I was hoping to one day travel to the USA from South Africa and actually meet Paul and am deeply saddened that this is not now possible. Thank you so much for pointing me in the right direction with all your wonderful training is so much appreciated. R I P
Alan, Johannesburg, South Africa

Posted by Louis van Rens on Mar 8th, 2012

my sincere condolence Karen

Posted by John Donahue on Mar 12th, 2012

I was very sorry to learn of Paul's passing, my deepest sympathy to his family. I can't think of anyone who's had more influence on my leatherworking than he has. From his free lessons to the courses I have purchased, everything I have learned from Paul has been invaluable to me while learning this craft. Although I've never personally met Paul, We have had a few email conversations and he was always very generous with his knowledge and time. His dedication to teaching others shows in his final hope that his knowledge would have ongoing benefit to others. Well, I hope he will rest easy knowing that he has truly made in impact on my and so many others lives with all that he has shared with us.

Posted by DAVID W on Mar 19th, 2012


Posted by Julie Nelson on
I am very sorry to hear of Mr. Burnett's passing. Even though I never met him, I had the opportunity to talk with him over the phone and email when I asked him about creating a special order; oriole earrings. With all he had going on, he took the time to talk to me personally and come up with a design that we both loved. I will cherish those earrings as they represent the care and love he put into his work and the way he treated every one of his customers. I didn't need to meet him to realize what a beautiful soul he is. I offer my condolences to his family who I know must miss him terribly. May we all go forward with the hope that, through Christ our Lord, we will all be reunited with our loved ones, never to be separated again. Until then, I know that Heaven rejoices in welcoming Mr. Burnett to his forever home. God Bless. Julie.

Posted by sally pfister on
Dear Karen, I met Paul, back in the 80s when I hosted him at my Bed and Breakfast house in Roanoke , Va . My friend, Earl Bobbitt met him there. Earl did leather work and we were both excited to meet Paul and see his beautiful work across my kitchen table. They remained in touch for a while. I recall the wonderful detail on the leather ducks that he brought with him. His talents, his kindness, his love of nature and people, will be missed by many. I pray God will continue to bless you and your family, Karen, and comfort you daily in your loss.

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