Thursday, March 09, 2006

Collections-2: Sasha Brastoff

my collection of Sasha Brastoff ceramics
My last post on collections was about chickens. I have a few ceramic chickens in my kitchen too, but nothing like our friend, Robbie...her collection is quite stellar. There's something about collecting ceramics. They can be dainty and take you back to a forgotten era of civility and refinement or they can be objects that you use daily. I've always had a fondness for all things ceramic. I collect sets of dishes, vases, figurines, salt and pepper shakers, outdoor pottery, candle holders, etc.
One of my favorite collections is my pottery by artist, Sasha Brastoff. Brastoff lived in L.A. after World War II and designed pottery and sculpture during the late 40's, 50's 60's and early 70's. He had a store in West L.A. When I was a little girl, I remember my Mother taking me to Sasha's 'seconds' shop on Sepulveda between Olympic Blvd. and Santa Monica Blvd., right next to the railroad tracks. This is where he sold his pieces that were slightly damaged or not perfect enough for the department stores or china shops. My Mother doesn't have any of her Sasha pieces anymore....I'm not even sure what she purchased during those days, I only remember walking around the showroom and loving all of the modern whimsical horses, fish, ballerinas, Harlequins, Eskimos, etc. that Sasha painted on his glazed pieces.
So, for the past 20 years, everytime I go to a garage sale, estate sale, thrift or antique shop I look for Sasha Brastoff pieces. They've gone way up in value, so I rarely find a piece I can afford now-a-days. I have various ashtrays, plates and ginger jars. My collection is not large, but I have a variety of designs. I'm still looking for the Polynesian tiki ashtray and the ballerina pieces I admired as a child. Sasha's pieces usually have a signature of "Sasha B." and a little rooster design on the back of the piece. There is a biography of Sasha B. that includes photos of many of his creations. I have the book and refer to it often for artistic inspiration. Many of the leaves that I've painted in my tiki and flora exotica paintings are modeled after Sasha's nature pottery.
Other artists (and disciples of Sasha's) during the same era, turning out some beautiful modern pottery, were Marc Bellaire and Georges Briard. I did inherit a gorgeous frosted glass serving platter from my Mother with decorations by Briard. I also have an ashtray with a Marc Bellaire design. If you see some great Sasha B. pottery and it's under $20, buy it for me! I promise to reimburse you!My prized possesion though is my poodle ashtray by Sasha. This piece works with two of my collections....pottery and poodles!

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14 Comments:

At 4:31 PM PST, Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Gorgeous. To think I've seen stuff like that at all the relatives', but never paid them much attention. I think I'm learning to appreciate kitsch more as I age. Or I'm surfin' too much again.

 
At 4:35 PM PST, Blogger briana said...

I LOVE Sasha Brastoff and your collection is super awesome. I'm sure you caught the california pottery retrospectoive at the Autrey last year. I went with two of my Bauer obsessed pals and we stood infront of the cases and drooled while our significant others waited impatiently in the giftshop.

Ebay is such a blessing and a curse- I've found pieces I never thought I would see (or didn't even know about) but now everybody thinks that their fugly Red Wing magnolia plates are worth $30 a pieces (not to mention all the good stuff going for outrageous prices...)

 
At 4:45 PM PST, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

OK, Monkeygurrl....see if you can get your relatives to give you their prized pottery collections! We need MORE stuff!

Briana! Do I know you? I checked out your blog and I see that you're a crafty friend of Regina's. Yes, the show at the Autry last year was awesome. I know that guy that owns most of the stuff (Bill Stern)! He lives near me and is working on organizing a Southern California Pottery Museum.

Come on down to the WeHo SnB at the Farmers Market some Thursday night!!!

 
At 4:51 PM PST, Anonymous Christine G. said...

My friend's husband went around in the early 80s asking folks for their old Bauer pots, including the oil urn pieces that measure two feet high. Folks just handed the "old junk" over and needless to say they now have a priceless collection.

My favorite moment of pottery shopping was finding (again, in the early 80s)a grey saucer that was the last piece my friend needed to complete her grey and burgundy Bauer dish set. It cost me 5 cents at a thrift shop.

Ah, for the good old days of thrifting.

 
At 5:26 AM PST, Blogger ~drew emborsky~ said...

I have a few pieces of Sasha too! Woo hoo!!

 
At 5:23 PM PDT, Anonymous Betsy B said...

Come out to Stall "12 & 13" at Georgia's Remermember When @ 480 E 6th St, Beaumont, CA on your way to Palm Springs. We will have quite a lot of Sasha B pieces for sale after May 9th, 2006.

 
At 9:40 PM PDT, Blogger katie said...

hi everyone...i just fell into an estate sale that had a whole bunch of great sasha b. pieces...i don't collect his pottery but i couldn't pass it up...anyone interested? i bought a great platter, coffee pot, 2or 3 lighters and a gold planter...i prefer Pillin pottery but i could recognize that these were quite a find! email me if you are interested in pix and more details...katie@katiesplace.com

 
At 1:08 PM PDT, Blogger John Evo said...

When I was about 5 years old, a friend and I were playing in a trench Sascha had running along the side of his house. I guess they were laying some new plumbing lines or something.

Suddenly, at the end of the trench, there stood Sascha with what looked to my 5 year old eyes like a sword, though it was probably a kitchen knife. He had some Halloween fangs in his mouth and and growled, "I'm gonna cut your gizzards out"!

I started scrambling out of trench, my friend grabbed my foot and pulled me back down and zipped out just ahead of me.

Little did I know that he was just a gentle gay artist who preferred the kid next door STAY next door.

 
At 8:01 PM PDT, Anonymous cher said...

My uncle Edward was a designer for the house of Helen Rose in L.A. during the 60's and they were 'pals'... he and sascha.
I have this really cool egg shaped piece that has a lid. We've had that in our family as long as I can remember. Have you ever seen those with the little tripod feet? cher

 
At 9:26 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Hi Cher,
Yes, I have one of those egg pieces too. It's in the photo above, but difficult to see.
It's on the right side of the photo, second shelf from the bottom, in front of a gray plate. It's also on the right side of a smaller photo, down the page a bit.

 
At 1:53 PM PDT, Blogger L said...

I see all of your Sascha Brastoff Pottery. I have a great hand painted vase signed Sasha - without the "c". The mark has a crown and an "S" with two dots. I believe the mark is different on Brastoff items. Do you have any idea what my vase is? If anyone would know it would be a collector! Would you like pictures?
Thank you in advance,
Lorrie

 
At 1:28 PM PDT, Blogger barbara said...

Hi: I remember visiting Jimmy Lennon, uncle of the Lennon sisters, with a friend when I was a kid. Jimmy's bathroom was tiled in Sasha Brastoff. I remember he was quite thrilled with it and at the time, being a kid, I thought it was very interesting...obviously because I remember it to this day, some fifty years later!

 
At 12:45 PM PDT, Anonymous Sharone said...

I too visited his studio in West Hollywood with my mom when I was about 5. I just came across an ash tray, lighter and cigarette box after my mom passed. The ash tray and lighter are painted on metal....not sure what. How can I find out what the value is? I also have a service for 8 dinner ware that are seconds. I had no idea so many folks knew about him.
Thanks for the memories

 
At 9:51 PM PDT, Blogger Ellen Bloom said...

Hi Sharone,

Congratulations on your Sascha Brastoff collection. It sounds fantastic. The only way I know to check on the prices is to see if there are comparable pieces available online or on eBay. Best of luck to you.

 

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