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Caroline Petit-Mason’s tribe of plates

Interior design

We had already seen Three Seven’s vintage furniture and objects, which its founder Caroline Petit-Mason unearthed on her travels across America before giving them a new lease of life. Now, after twelve years on the other side of the pond, Caroline has popped up in Paris with a range of hand-made and hand-decorated plates in a naïve style that’s absolutely spot on!

You founded Three Seven in the USA. How did that come about?

After studying sociology and political science, I got a job working in strategic planning at the advertising agency TBWA in New York. In 2009, tired of the infernal rhythm my job entailed, I gave it all up to hit the road with my American husband. Travelling from state to state, we collected things that caught our eye along the way, in garage sales or on farms. We bought old wooden pieces, keeping some intact for their decorative charm and making others from these salvaged bits of Middle America. Everything was sold in France two or three times a year in pop-up stores. In 2016, we decided to move back to Paris, which put an end to the supply of furniture, so I started making plates!

How do you go from upcycling to ceramics?

Years ago, when I was back in Paris for a short while, I took a pottery course more or less by chance. After that, every time I came back to France, I continued developing my skills. As for the plates, it all started one day when I made one using a rolling pin. After that, I used to make some on a regular basis to sell in my pop-up stores. I gradually found I wanted to make plates more than furniture. Today I devote a lot of time to my production: each plate is made by hand, allowed to dry and then fired. Next it is decorated by hand, glazed and then fired again to finish.

What about the drawings?

From coral and floral inspirations to pink flamingos, they are inspired by themes that I like – depending on the season. My drawings are very simple, but perfectly suited to the plates. Once the motif is the right size, I reproduce it using a pounce: this is a very old technique that uses a perforated sheet to copy the initial drawing.

Apparently your work has had a good response!

I presented my first prototypes at MAISON&OBJET last September. At January’s edition we got a further 60 sales outlets. There are now eight of us working in the Parisian workshop. This year, I am going to continue concentrating on plates and next year, if all goes well, I will diversify by adding bowls and a few other table accessories to the collection.

www.threesevenus.com

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