Artist Draws Upon Nature (Literally) to Create Original Cheese Boards
These natural patterns in the wood inspire Lauren’s whimsical burned-in drawings that themselves depict nature, mythology, and an implicitly pagan spirituality. “I find beautiful, neglected scenes in these pieces. Thirty years of growth, solar energy, and wind went into making a pattern, and I try to honor that by creating something that builds onto the pattern rather than removes it in any way.”
Principally a professional photographer, Lauren’s wood-burned artwork is, at least in part, an environmental statement -- namely, that there is both beauty and value in what she calls nature’s “resplendent waste.” Her wood burnings have shown in various galleries since 2008, and in 2009, she decided to begin finishing specific pieces as cheese boards. “Why not an artisan board to display an artisan cheese?” asks Lauren. Since then, her boards have been displayed and sold at art galleries, food events, and cheesemongers in Los Angeles and New York City.
A frequent hostess or guest at sumptuously laden farm-fresh tables, Lauren liked the idea of an oblong board displaying a row of cheeses down the center of the table to allow access for the whole party. Also seen in wine tasting rooms near Santa Barbara, these boards make an elegant display for cheeses paired with wine or other beverages.
Often sourcing wood from builders and suppliers who know her work, Lauren also finds serendipitous material while bike or horseback riding through the Santa Ynez Valley. After fine sanding and burning the illustration, she treats the board with food-safe mineral oil and titles and signs each piece on the underside. The boards are also fitted with wooden feet for a finished presentation and are made durable enough for frequent use. The illustrated surface requires only occasional rubbing with butcher block oil (FDA approved) to preserve it.
Custom orders available by contacting Lauren directly(see below). Also available at Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, CA. andrewscheese.com