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