For those looking for a unique piece of artwork as well as a way to serve meats and cheeses with style, Bill Campbell’s charcuterie boards offer both.
Campbell and his wife, Shawn, own Campbell Creations, which is picturesquely located at 803 S. Fifth Ave. in St. Charles near the Fox River. They also call St. Charles home.
Campbell Creations is a side enterprise to their main business, Bill & Sid’s Most Excellent Floor Sanding.
Sometimes Bill Campbell’s vision for what a piece will look like changes as he starts working on it.
“I might have the mindset to start with a certain shape, but it deviates from that usually as I roll with it,” Bill Campbell said. “I start feeling it through, and it just turns into what it is.”
He also has to work with wood that sometimes is split or knotted.
“It’s very free-form,” he said. “If I had to do the same piece time and time again, I would have already been bored and done. I want each piece to stand on its own.”
Bill Campbell, who also does raku pottery, grew up in a family of artists. His mom does pottery, and his dad was a painter and sculptor.
Bill Campbell loves seeing a piece come alive.
“I’ll sit back here and say, ‘Darn, I like that,’” he said. “Sometimes, I’ll take a piece into our house to admire for a while and then I’ll bring it back out here. But it’s been like that with every form of artwork I’ve done my whole life.”
He will work on a piece anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.
Shawn Campbell noted that charcuterie boards are extremely popular these days because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Everybody’s staying at home, and they are eating around their kitchen island or table,” she said. “So it’s worked out really well for us.”
The idea for Campbell Creations was born as a result of Bill Campbell spending time at his parent’s 40-acre property in Wisconsin.
“They have a full forest of black walnut trees,” Shawn Campbell said. “Some of the trees were old and had fallen over or storms had come through. And black walnut is a very expensive wood. My husband said, ‘There’s got to be something I can do artistically with this wood.’’'
She encourages people to visit the store so they can see his work up close. They have plenty of pieces.
“When people come in here, they always find a piece to go home with,” Shawn Campbell said. “No one leaves here in 10 minutes. There’s just too much to look at. And you can hang it as a piece of artwork when you’re not using it to entertain your friends and family.”
Shawn Campbell said she loves hearing stories from customers on why they are buying one of their charcuterie boards.
“You have culinary people and you have people purchasing them for graduations, anniversaries and birthdays,” she said. “And then there are people who have everything, but this is something they don’t have because it’s one-of-a-kind. We get a lot of those shoppers.”
She will take photos of customers holding their newly purchased boards.
“Then they will send me a picture in return of how they decorated the board,” Shawn Campbell said. “So I see all their creations of how they design their charcuterie board with their fine meat and cheeses. And I tell you what, some of these people are talented.”
Bill Campbell is happy that other people appreciate his art.
“It’s flattering, otherwise, I would stop,” he said.
Information about Campbell Creations is available on its Facebook page, facebook.com/cccharcuterieboards, or by calling 630-940-6379.