Being a Star Wars collector is no easy task. Spending money, hunting down that hard to find item, or outbidding someone on eBay, is easy compared to figuring out how to display your collection. That’s where Charles Peterson comes in. He has taken Star Wars Displays to a whole new level. Taking his love for collecting, display, and woodworking, he has created the ultimate way to fit a Star Wars collection into a home in a classy way.
I recently had a chat with Charles to find out a little more about these spectacular pieces, and how these custom display cabinets and coffee tables came to be.
Ashley – What is your fascination with Star wars?
Charles – Well growing up at the right time is the secret to it all, and just being exposed to the characters and to the collectible aspect of it. It’s always captured my imagination. It just stuck with me. I think a lot of collectors fade in and out over the years to one degree or another, but I have always had a pretty deep love for the characters and the movies.
Ashley – Are you a vintage focused collector or do you collect a little of everything?
Charles – Vintage has always been my focus, but in the 90’s I started picking up a little bit of the newer stuff. I eventually returned to the vintage collectibles because there is something about them that really captures my imagination and brings me right back to those early days of the movies. Most of my cases are designed based on the idea to display a complete collection. To that end, vintage Star Wars kind of has a beginning and an end. That sort of gives me a manageable goal.
Ashley – Speaking of your cases, are you a carpenter by trade, or is this just a result of your passion for Star Wars?
Charles – A little of both. I have always been a bit of a woodworker. Five or six years ago someone posted on the Internet, an idea to take a moveable type drawer with dividers, and repurpose it for collectible figures, with glass on top. I thought, now that is a fantastic idea, I want to do exactly that. So I started keeping an eye out for that sort of thing in my travels to antique shops. Nothing I found really worked. Then it dawned on me that I could make this! So I worked through some designs and came up with an idea, then posted them online and people started expressing interest in them.
To that end, my skill in woodwork was always there, but I have been developing it for the purpose of these cases. Professionally, I am actually an art historian. I have a doctorate in Art History. I actually specialized in late renaissance collecting practices, sort of like the way people would collect objects (paintings, sculptures, etc..), and how they would display them in the past. That is my intellectual pursuit. My idea was, that we all sort of collect our collection in the best way that fits into our home, or office, and I wanted some way to display these objects that I really really enjoy, so that it blends in to our living environment. This way I could be with them, and engage with my collection. Not just have them filed away in boxes or in a special room designed for them.
I could actually have these in my living room, looking at them while watching TV. So the idea is sort of an update to my knowledge of traditional display practices with a modern twist.
Ashley – It sounds like this makes for a great conversation piece for visitors to your home.
Charles – Yeah, that is the whole idea. You kind of don’t notice it at first, then you get closer to it, and notice that it is something that is cherished. That is the hope. You don’t want to just be with the collection, but to share it in a way that is useful to other people.
Ashley – How long does it take from beginning to end, to build one of these tables?
Charles – That is a very good question. It really depends on the complexity of the build. I have built coffee tables in a variety of different sizes and formats. I have built wall cabinets in a variety of different sizes and formats. The design takes as long as the design takes. That sort of evolves over time. It does take time to source the wood, pick it up, mill it, sand it down, assemble everything together, wait for things to dry, and put the finishing touches on it. If I work pretty hard, taking into account that I am still a teacher, I can turn out a good size piece in about a week, give or take. It is a process that I have been trying my absolute best to refine.
Ashley – These are really fantastic pieces, and seem to work well in living spaces.
Charles – That’s the whole idea behind these things. You get something that looks nice and allows you to have these things out, that doesn’t offend or look tacky. Our collections are not tacky, but they often are in the way that we present them. Hopefully this is the answer for that.
Take a look at some of the fantastic display cabinets and coffee tables that Charles has built for Star Wars fans below. If you are interested in owning one of these custom displays for yourself, you can contact Charles via his CustomCollectibleCases.com, Etsy, or eBay.