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Resident Credits Hobby for Saving His Life


Sean Giggy

April 22, 2019

Resident Credits Hobby for Saving His Life

One of our residents is harnessing the power of the sun to create art. Spring is here, and Jerome Fuhrmann is looking forward to long days of sunshine, which is the key to his passion. For the past nine years, this 74 year old has created more than 1,000 cherished pieces of art with just a magnifying glass and a bright sunny day. Known as pyrography, or woodburning, the tradition dates to the 17th century.

Jerome even credits his art with giving his life purpose. In November 2009, he suffered a stroke. With his left side often numb, he turned to woodburning to pass the time. At first, doctors told him he wouldn’t walk or talk again, but he proved them wrong. Today, he continues to drive and make his art, although he’s found it easier to use a wheelchair over the past year.

“It really saved my life. It gave me something to do instead of just sitting there,” said Fuhrmann. “I’m 74, but I don’t feel it because I stay so active.”

For decades, this Vietnam War veteran worked on farms and ranches in North Texas, often taking care of cattle and welding. He couldn’t imagine not working with his hands, so even without formal training, woodburning came naturally. Jerome always saw himself as artistic, but he became an artist when he picked up a magnifying glass.

While others use a heated metallic point pen for woodburning, Jerome prefers the magnifying glass he picked up 30 years ago at a flea market. He sketches out his designs freehand, not using any stencils. After that, it’s all about the angle he holds the magnifying glass to the wood. And he says to beware, it can burn if you’re not careful. His other two tips: wear protective eyewear and use soft wood like cedar or pine. Nine months ago, Jerome moved to Mustang Creek Estates of Keller. Living at our community allows him to remain independent and have peace of mind knowing that a caring staff is nearby. He’s also not far from his niece who lives nearby.

His art became an instant hit among residents. Over the past nine years, Jerome’s art has been commissioned by Texans, sold by art dealers and often donated to local churches in North Texas. One of his proudest projects was making wooden signs for the Muenster High Hornets in 2017. That year, the students took state championships in basketball, baseball and football. Today, you can find some of Fuhrmann’s pieces at a gift shop in Argyle, Texas, called The Gypsy Caravan.

“I love sharing what I do with others. It’s even better when young people come to Mustang Creek. They’re always fascinated with what’s happening when I’m creating my art,” said Jerome.

Jerome was also features on KENS 5. Watch the video below.

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