Paul Wayne Burnett died on Friday, February 24, 2012, at his home in Conicville, Virginia.
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Paul was born July 15, 1938 in Memphis, TN to Joseph Neil and Mary Lou (Willett). He attended Treadwell High School. After high school, Paul joined the military and served eight years in the Air Force.
Paul had learned the basics of leathercraft as a Boy Scout, age 12, and had wonderful stories of his postman selling his work door-to-door as he delivered mail and even getting custom orders for wallets. Paul took this talent and being completely self-taught developed many unique and innovative leather products.
Paul was a compulsive reader, a keen observer of nature and a student of the fine arts. He worked with distinction in clay, wood, oils and acrylics. He was a teacher, lecturer and writer, having several books, articles, patterns and study courses in print. He was a regular contributor to "The Leathercrafters Journal". He was a perceptive sculptor of the nude form and wildlife and was known for his design of and application of Art Nouveau.
In 1983, Paul became the first recipient of the prestigious Al Stohlman Award for his "contribution to education, technical innovation and outstanding achievement in the leather field". He was very proud of this honor.
When the urban cowboy craze hit, Paul developed a line of leather belt buckles that sold in western stores and gift shops all over the country. As that lost momentum he pursued his interest in creating bird sculptures, life size and realistic and basing his standards as accepted by the wood carvers of the Ward Foundation World Class competition. He also did two major commissions, a Pheasant entitled "Early Spring Morn" and a Loon with Chick entitled "Alpha Adventure".
That inspiration led to creating his line of realistic looking leather feathers that have been selling now for close to 30 years. They are sold in many galleries and shops, both in our country, Europe and Australia.
Paul was internationally recognized as a master carver and colorist. His work is in private collections both here and abroad. Locally he was a member of The Art Group Gallery in Mt. Jackson.
Paul loved growing flowers, did extensive research on butterflies, and was an avid enthusiast of history and a life-long student of Scripture.
He is survived by his children, Mark Randall of Memphis, TN, Constance Hope of Memphis, TN and Timothy Paul of McMinville, OR. His wife, Karen Sue and daughter, Ashley Paige remain in Conicville.
He has two beloved nieces, Danielle Maria of Calamine, AR and Monica Dawn of Memphis. TN; his brother, Mike (Nancy) of McKinney, Texas; sister-in-law, Barbara Burnett of Missoula, MT; granddaughter, Melanie Denise of Memphis; grandson, Daniel Wayne and Joshua Seth; great-grandchildren, Peyton Elise, Leighann Hope and Elora Sage; nephews, Geoff, Michael and David Burnett, Joseph Nolen; and nieces, Megan and Emily Barnes; and a dear friend who helped get through it all, Jamie Austin.
There will be no services.
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Published in Northern Virginia Daily from Feb. 29 to Mar. 1, 2012