When did you start your business and why?

For as long as I can remember, I have always made things. I have always had a creative project on the go.

In the past, I made greeting cards, mirrors from slate and illustrations.

The vintage plates are my current and most successful creative endeavour.

I was looking for my next project when I spotted a beautiful, incomplete tea-set in my local charity shop.

It had a beautiful green foliage pattern, with lots of quirks and anomalies. I bought it because it had ‘potential creative project’ written all over it.

After a few months of experimenting and trial runs, I eventually fine-tuned the process.

The more I worked on them, the more I perfected the end result. I started adding the COVID phrases ('Wash your hands’, 'Keep your distance', etc).

Paula's 'I only have eyes for ewe' plate.

I posted images on Instagram, followers showed an interest and bought off me.

I began creating other ideas, added them to an online shop and I started getting steady sales, which enabled me to keep buying vintage plates.

I am happy and grateful to say the business has been growing annually since.

Can you explain your creative process?

All plates in my possession are initially photographed, catalogued and numbered. I do this so I can keep track of stock.

I design the idea on my iPad, then add the image to my online shop and Instagram.

I would print a small batch of designs, but most of the plates are made to order.

I use a decal to add the image to the plate - it is then dried, baked and sealed. They are not 100% waterproof (not for the dishwasher), but they can be wiped with a cloth.

I also like to include the provenance of the plate with the delivery – ie the maker's name and the year it was made. Customers love this extra touch.

What are your best sellers?

My Child of Prague vintage plates are very popular, especially for weddings and hen nights! Poolbeg Chimney plates are also popular.

A popular 'air balloon plate' from Paula's collection.

There is an option to personalise most of the plates – for example, there is an option to add the name of the wedding couple and date of wedding on the Child of Prague plate.

What is your biggest creative achievement to date?

I can’t really pinpoint a particular event, because I feel that every day I get to do this is an achievement.

Getting a good review, hearing that someone cried when they received their plate is extra special, the opportunity to be stocked in shops, getting a mention in magazines. I am still here, the business is doing well - that is a great achievement.

What are your hopes for the future?

I have found my niche with the upcycled plates and I have ideas for large, decorative cake plates, which I hope to reveal this summer.

I am currently working on a few lovely commissions where customers send me their family heirlooms - vintage plates that were once cherished, now inherited and gathering dust.

There is joy in reviving forgotten treasures such as vintage plates. These vintage plates, steeped in nostalgia, become display-worthy pieces of art.

Paula's work can be found at paulasvintageplats.com or by her Instagram handle @paulasvintageplates.

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