Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Kentucky Artisan Center Kicks-Off Holiday Events Dec. 5

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, December 01, 2015  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
859/ 985-5448, Ext. 230

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea starts off the traditional holiday shopping season with multiple events featuring decorative gourds, holiday music on Celtic harp and Hammer Dulcimer and a book signing by Lexington photographer John Snell.

On Saturday, Dec. 5, Paul Buhrmester, of Bowling Green will demonstrate his embellished and cut decorative gourds from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Buhrmester embellishes the gourds that he grows in his garden by using an art form called pyrography – the art or technique of decorating wood, leather or other objects by burning a design on the surface with a heated metallic point. The tool most commonly used is called a wood-burning tool.

  Buhrmester decorates egg gourds to make ornaments

Mostly self-taught, Burhmester loves being able to grow his own material and is inspired by the process of watching the gourd grow and then changing it into art. The size, shape, feel, thickness and color of the gourds come together to inform his imagination and determine the final design.

“I create gourd art with various burning techniques and I also carve and cut into each gourd’s surface,” he states. “Each work is designed with elements of symmetry and are inspired by nature.”

Experimentation is Buhrmester’s forte and he makes the most out of the variety of shapes and differences each gourd presents. He has even transformed gourds into lamps and vessels.

Also on Dec. 5, Kyle Meadows and Tisa McGraw will perform sets of holiday music on hammer dulcimer and Celtic harp from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This musical duo will also talk to visitors about their music and their unique instruments and be available to sign their CD's.

 Meadows on hammer dulcimer and McGraw on Celtic harp

Both Meadows and McGraw have been playing music for most of their lives. Born in North Carolina, Meadows began his career in music as a child, learning to play the piano by ear. As a teenager, he taught himself how to play the hammer dulcimer and now has been playing for over 20 years. He is known both locally and nationally as a hammer dulcimer musician and has appeared with Mark O’Conner and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

McGraw began playing the piano as a small child. She played electric bass with a rock ’n’ roll band for many years before turning to the world of harp music. McGraw has been playing the Celtic harp for 15 years, gaining a reputation for her delicate and beautiful handling of the instrument.

As a duo, Meadows and McGraw have been performing together nine years and have played a variety of events from coffeehouses to concert halls. From toe-tapping renditions of holiday favorites to hauntingly beautiful traditional Christmas carols, visitors will enjoy this musical experience.

Also on Dec. 5 photographer John Snell will be on hand to sign copies of his new book titled, “Red River Gorge- My Second Home” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Each year Snell spends countless hours lugging heavy camera equipment off the beaten path, through the Red River Gorge in eastern Kentucky. There he climbs into overhangs and cliff-lines to find and express the beauty of nature that is unique to this unusual geographic and geological location.

 Photographer John Snell's new book on the Red River Gorge

Snell’s new book contains 224 pages of photographs and text that spotlight one of Kentucky’s most beautiful natural treasures. The book also includes a section on great photo spots within the Gorge and tips for making better photographs there.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. The center’s lobby showcases an 18 foot Christmas tree with beautiful handmade ornaments by Kentucky artisans. For more information about events call 859-985-5448, go to the center’s website at, or on Facebook at

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.