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Artist Draws Upon Nature (Literally) to Create Original Cheese Boards


Board with leaves on itWith a passion for farm-to-table meals, an eco-conscience, and a photographer’s eye for the overlooked picture, California artist Lauren Berley-Chidiac is always on the lookout for discarded, quality pieces of wood with distinctive grain patterns, knotholes, or other “imperfections.” “Knotholes are a bonus,” Lauren says, “as they lend themselves to a multitude of images.”

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.

Custom orders available by contacting Lauren directly(laurenbchi@gmail.com). Also available at Andrew’s Cheese Shop in Santa Monica, CA.