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Pottery Tips from Sasha Wingate of BellJar

Sasha Wingate, 36, owner of Mission District home accessories shop, the BellJar, invites us into her home in the Excelsior district to view her collection of dainty white pottery and milk glass. The early 20th-century pieces run the gamut from hobnail vessels to ruffle-edged bowls by McCoy to classic 1930s cornucopias—an impressive, and decidedly feminine, grouping that adds a soft edge to Wingate’s midcentury-inspired home.

Do you have an elusive piece that you covet?

I have this piece at BellJar, a huge McCoy jardinière that I sometimes think about taking it out of the shop and bringing home, but it’s like $500. I should probably leave it there and try to sell it. How does such an old-fashioned collection co-exist with your midcentury-modern furniture? If you keep everything monochromatic, you can mix it with midcentury pieces—somehow it comes across looking modern. I just love the pieces with ruffley edges, especially the ones with little hints of color inside—I feel like they’re so girly and sweet and romantic. I really love the 1930s and 1940s. It was such a great time for fashion and I think that it comes through in the pottery as well.

Do you have any secret tips on the best way to preserve your pottery?

A lot of the pieces do have hairline cracks. If you pour water directly in it, the pressure will make the crack grow. So, if I want to put flowers in one of the vessels, I usually nest a smaller, clear vase inside of it to hold the stems and water.

Where do you find your pottery?

Flea markets, usually. Also, when I go to Chico to visit my mom, I stop by the amazing antique stores there. I do go to Harrington’s on Valencia sometimes, just because they get such a massive amount of stuff and they price things a little bit lower just to keep them moving.