Story: Tiffany Burgess | Styling: Mandy Keener |
Carla Fuller remembers clearly the piece that started her collection and obsession with cake stands. “I was 13 and my family and I were looking for a Mother’s Day present for my mom. We found a beautiful white, square milk-glass cake stand and I loved it,” she recalls. The piece turned out to be not only a perfect gift, but also a jumpstart for Carla, who now has a collection of more than 50 cake stands. This group includes the very cake stand she gave her mother as a child. “Two years ago she returned it to me,” says Carla, who was happy to have the piece that started it all among her array.
After the purchase of the first stand, Carla added a similar green milk-glass stand to the collection and has continued to pick up pieces here and there for more than 20 years. After she graduated from law school at the University of Arkansas, she immediately went to work for the Department of Human Services and covered seven counties in the state. As she drove from town to town, she would occasionally stop in flea markets and antique shops in hopes of finding a unique piece to grow her collection. However, it’s not necessary that the piece be vintage or even valuable for it to be added to the mix. “If I see a stand that has a great shape or a fun color at Target, I don’t hesitate to pick it up,” she says.
She fondly remembers finding a favorite crystal stand on a trip to London. Another one of her favorite pieces came from our home state. “A friend of mine that I used to run with every morning had been telling me about this beautiful pottery she was having made,” says Carla. “It sounded gorgeous to me and I was thrilled to get a cake stand in the same style.” The piece Carla refers to is a ceramic stand with rich earth tones. It was made by Katy Carnahan of Katy’s Pottery in Alicia, Arkansas. “It is definitely one of my favorites,” she adds.
Carla’s collection isn’t just beautiful; it is useful as well. “I love to entertain and often host parties in my home,” she says. “I’ve hosted everything from the White County Barr Association annual Christmas party to functions for our local Searcy dinner theater group and most recently my 14-year-old daughter’s birthday party,” she adds. The cake stands come in handy during such occasions. Carla likes to use a variety of these pieces to add height and create interest in her table displays. What’s more, the stands aren’t just for pastry confections. Carla finds them to be especially useful for serving dips and hors d’oeuvres. If cupcakes are your fancy, Carla recommends small domed stands made specifically for displaying a singular treat. She also has several of these small gems in her collection.
Many of Carla’s friends and neighbors throughout the community are familiar with her collection and they often borrow the pieces for their own parties and gatherings. “I get calls all the time from friends who want to borrow a certain piece and I’m happy to lend the stands to them. I’m always glad they can be used,” says Carla.
When they aren’t being loaned to a neighbor or friend for a party, Carla keeps the collection in wide, low, built-in shelves in her home. “Even though we didn’t build these specifically for the cake stands, it just seems the shelves were made for them,” she says with a smile.