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.

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