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Modern Heirlooms

These charcuterie boards are worthy of being passed from generation to generation.

By Jennifer McKee  |  Photos courtesy of Shelly Chandler


Shelly Chandler sees her charcuterie boards as a modern replacement for grandma’s bread bowl. 

“I want to them to be something that can be handed down through the generations,” says Chandler. “Something sturdy and well-crafted.”

A former schoolteacher, Chandler was grounded at home during Covid when opportunity sprung.

“My daughter loves putting cheeses on boards. I decided to make her one. Someone brought a piece of walnut board to school, and I started playing with it. She took it with her to college, then her roommate’s mother wanted one, and then her best friend wanted one, and it grew from there. I’ve since rehomed more than 500 boards.”

Chandler had previously dabbled in painting, creating murals for her school, churches and other schools, which she had done for 30 years. She welcomed the challenge of trying something new.

“I started playing with epoxies,” she says. “It was addicting.”

Chandler purchases 12-foot-long flats, sits and looks at them and thinks about what she thinks would make an interesting board. Then she gets to work and crafts the boards, with or without epoxy, in her backyard.

“I love the dark color of walnut, and its grain pattern,” says Chandler. “Also, it’s more sanitary than softer woods, it’s not porous. All my boards are food safe. No chemicals or sealant go into them.”

Another reason Chandler loves walnut is that it’s easy to source locally. At her distributors in Putnam and Morgan counties, she’s able to hand pick her flats of wood.

Chandler receives many custom orders, and sometimes they are very personal. One client brought in shells her father had picked up on the beach in Normandy in World War II. Another brought shells her granddaughter had collected.

“The boards can be very personal and sentimental,” says Chandler. “People bring me items they don’t know what to do with.” She can create a board in a few hours if it doesn’t have epoxy, or a few days if it does, as epoxy takes 48 hours to cure.  

Chandler can regularly be found at Athens’ markets; follow her on social media for her latest events. On March 16, you can find her at the Lake Oconoee Food and Wine Festival at The Ritz-Carlton.

Find Handcrafted by Shelly on Facebook at and Instagram @handcraftedbyshelly