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Russell Sanchez

Russell Sanchez with his 2017 New Mexico Governor's Award for the Arts. 2017

Russell Sanchez

Russell Sanchez  (b. 1963) continues to be one of the master innovators in Pueblo pottery. Each piece he creates is perfectly hand-coiled, stone polished, then etched, designed and fired with utilizing traditional methods. Russell learned to make pottery from his great-aunt Rose Gonzales (1900-1989,) starting at the early age of 12 years old on the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Mr. Sanchez has received numerous awards and recognition for his pottery, including 'Best of Division' at both the Santa Fe Indian Market and the Heard Indian Market. In 2007 Russell's art was presented in the feature article of the Fall issue of Native People's Magazine. In 2011, Russell was awarded the exclusive 'Tony Da Award' for Pottery in Santa Fe. Most recently, Russell was a recipient of the 'New Mexico Governor's Award for Excellence in Art 2017.'

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Sanchez, Russell  – Mini”Gourd” Bowl with Bear Lid

This is an exceptional mini gourd bowl by Russell Sanchez.  The piece is a classic “gourd” bowl.  There are eight “gourd” indentions on the side.  The name for this style of impression comes from the round sections of gourds used when making the pottery to smooth the surface.  The entire surface is fully polished to a nearly gunmetal shine. The lid is one of his classic bear lids, which fits perfectly onto the piece.  The bowl is simple and the angles and shine are what make it so impressive.  Note the position of the indentions, which are at the perfect angle to catch and reflect the light!  The difficulty in a jar like this comes from polishing the gourd indentions and getting a high shine.  This piece was traditionally fired and has a glassy black surface.  The bottom of the bowl has the classic indention of traditional San Ildefonso water jars.  Of course, the amazing part of this piece is its size.  It is a miniature and yet it is scaled to the precision that it seems as if it could be much larger!  It’s fascinating to see how he has updated the gourd style from a piece made nearly 100 years ago!  It’s exciting how Russell uses these historic elements to keep them alive on his contemporary pottery.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell”.

Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

 

$ 2,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Mini Box with Rain Designs

It is not often that we get in miniatures from Russell Sanchez.  He is well known for the distinctive pottery and not only the polishing and shapes but the firing. While this box is small, it is complicated!  It has black and sienna medallions on two of the ends, which are inset with very old Morenci turquoise.  The longer sides are etched with rain designs and inset with small pieces of hemitite. The hemitite reflects much the same coloration as the gunmetal fired surface.  The lid has a carved handle and it is also fully polished.  The style of this box is similar to the earlier ones made at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s.    For such a small piece, it is wonderfully intricate in design!  The box and lid are both signed on the bottom.

$ 1,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Long Neck Jar with Avanyu & Shell Lid (2007)

Russell Sanchez continues to use traditional techniques and materials to create his stunning works in clay.  This long neck jar is made in the style of Russell’s great-aunt Rose Gonzales. The jar is from 2007 and has a blue ribbon from the Heard Indian Market.  The jar is fully polished and has  an avanyu etched around the shoulder. The body of the jar is polished red while the neck is polished brown. The lid is red and has a matte shell carved on the top of the lid.  In the neck there are 9 bands of hei-shi beads in shell and turquoise. There are additional bands of hei-shi beads on the lid and the around the shoulder. The eye and the body of the jar also have inset turquoise.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 16,000.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Gunmetal Fired Bear with Heartline and Inlay

Russell Sanchez continues to use traditional techniques and materials to create his stunning works in clay.  This small bear is coil built and incised with a heartline. The bear was fired to achieve a gunmetal appearance to the surface. This is result of how the piece is fired and the temperature achieved. The heartline extends out from the mouth of the bear. The bear is a symbol of strength and the heartline is a traditional image used to symbolize the heart as the center of power in the animal.  The back has five bands of hei-shi beads, alternating between turquoise and jet.  The bear is signed on the bottom in the clay.  It is not often that we see such a perfectly fired gunmetal piece!

$ 2,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – “Grizzly” Bear with Heartline and Inlaid Shell

Russell Sanchez continues to use traditional techniques and materials to create his stunning works in clay.  This bear is highly polished and fired to a near gunmetal coloration.  The bear has a sharp ridge on the back, which Russell says makes it a “grizzly bear”, as their fur creates this sort of angle.  The high shine and near metallic appearance of the surface is perfect for the use of the black-lip mother of pearl shell used on the back.  Russell has inlaid a series of the shell dots which create not only a striking appearance with their black luminesence, but also with their texture. They are raised from the surface, which creates a contrast with the smooth polished clay.  There are five strands of shell and turquoise hei-shi beads along the back.  The eyes are turquoise.  The striking combination of colors and textures gives this bear both the appearance of both a historic piece and something that is also almost “industrial” with the feel of the shell inlay and the metallic color of the bear.  The heartline extends out from the mouth of the bear. The bear is a symbol of strength and the heartline is a traditional image used to symbolize the heart as the center of power in the animal.  The back has five bands of hei-shi beads, alternating between turquoise and jet.  The bear is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 6,400.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Red & Black Bear with Checkerboard and Sun Design

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  This bear is one of his classic shapes.  This bear is polished with a deep red clay slip.  The front has a sun pattern with a black mica clay line design in the center. The sun pattern is one that is inspired by the early pottery of Tonita Roybal.  The black of the bear has a black matte section along with a traditional San Ildefonso rain design.  The bear has a heartline which is etched into the clay.  The heartline which extends out from the mouth of the bear. The bear is a symbol of strength and the heartline is a traditional image used to symbolize the heart as the center of power in the animal.  The bear is hollow as the piece is coil built.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 3,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Red and Tan Bear with Sun and Bear Paw Designs

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  This bear is distinctive with its head down.  Russell said that he made it so that it would look similar in form to the etched bears that he does (see the last 2 photos).  The bear is fully polished red and the back is tan.  There is a mica slip separating the two sections and mica on the inside of the feet.  The top of the back is etched with sun and bear paw designs.  There are inset jet and turquoise stones. There is jet and turquoise hei-shi beads inset into the back of the bear. Russell said that he double fired the bear, so that it was black fired first, then fired a second time to create the distinctive coloration.  The bear is a symbol of strength and the heartline is a traditional image used to symbolize the heart as the center of power in the animal.  The bear is hollow as the piece is coil built.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 6,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Gunmetal Box with Bears & Bear Lid

While Russell Sanchez is well known for the distinctive pottery and not only the polishing and shapes but the firing. This exceptional box has been fire to a gunmetal finish with a very metallic appearance.  The box has  a square shape with flat sides and a bear lid.  The lid of the box is etched with a cloud pattern and the sides are the rain.  There are stylized bears on the opposing ends.  The inset stones on this piece are hematite, which seem to perfectly match the coloration of the surface of the box!  Russell is one of the few potters working today who can create the full gunmetal color in his firing and it is spectacular!  The hei-shi beads used in Russell’s pottery are all handmade by the Calabaza family of Santo Domingo pueblo.

$ 4,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Gunmetal Fired Water Jar with Avanyu & Gourd Design Base

This is a stunning water jar by Russell Sanchez.  He continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched. The shape is a classic San Ildefonso form with the narrow base and wide shoulder.  Note how after the shoulder there is almost a flatness to the jar before the neck. This is technically difficult to achieve.  The jar is etched with a water serpent (avanyu) before it is fired.  The neck of the jar has melon ribs on the inside, and the bottom of the jar has gourd design indentions.  The raised and indented surfaces are not only technically difficult additions, but add additional dimensions for the light to hit the surface of the piece.  The firing created a near gunmetal or metallic appearance in the surface of the jar. There are also bands of micaceous clay along with hei-shi beads.   It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 7,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Gunmetal Fired Bear with Heartline

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  This bear is one of his classic shapes.  This bear is stone polished and traditionally fired outside. The result is a coloration that is nearly metallic in appearance.   Note how the back of the bear has a more “metallic” appearance than the sides.  The back is the deep red clay and this is how it fired black.  There are two bands of jet hei-shi beads around the back and the eyes are hemitite.  There is an etched heartline on the sides.  The heartline which extends out from the mouth of the bear. The bear is a symbol of strength and the heartline is a traditional image used to symbolize the heart as the center of power in the animal.  The bear is hollow as the piece is coil built.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay.

$ 6,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Bear Lid Box with Medallions

Russell Sanchez continues to revive historic shapes with is intricate designs and complex slips. This unique box is reminiscent of the boxes from the 1920’s made at San Ildefonso Pueblo.  Boxes are always difficult to make and often crack during drying or the firing stage because of the pull against the flat walls. This box has a deer on one side and a coyote on the other.  On the opposite sides are circular medallions with black mica clay which are etched into geometric corn patterns.  They medallions are surrounded by black (jet) hei-shi beads.  The two animals have turquoise insets.  The base of the box has a “foot”, much like many of the early San Ildefonso vessels.  Here the foot is matte and etched with little dots.  It gives the piece a bit more height and there is something charming about it, especially in person.  The lid of the box has a fully polished bear with an inset piece of turquoise and etched flower designs on the corners.  The red clay used on the box is a deep red, which is the new clay Russell has been using.   It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell Sanchez”.

$ 4,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Black & Sienna Lidded Jar with Avanyu

Russell Sanchez is known for his ability to take traditional San Ildefonso forms and designs, and revise them into a more modern appearance.  This jar was fired to nearly a gunmetal metallic appearance.  After the firing, Russell “two toned” the jar to give the top half a sienna coloration. This is achieved by burning off the black to return the clay to its natural color. The bottom of the jar remains gunmetal in appearance.  The jar is etched with a water serpent (avanyu) encircling the shoulder. There are three bands of turquoise hei-shi beads around the shoulder and a single inset of jet for the eye.  The lid is gunmetal in appearance as well, and two-toned on the finial and then inset with a piece of turquoise on each side.  It is an elegant balance of form, design and color.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.  Russell has won numerous awards for his pottery and in 2017 was awarded the prestigious New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts.

 

$ 5,200.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Avanyu Handle Jar with Lid

Russell Sanchez has been taking inspiration from signed historic San Ildefonso pottery for his pieces over the past several years.  This unique jar is inspired by a bowl by his great-great grandmother, Ramona Sanchez Gonzales.  In the second photo the red bowl by Ramona can be seen, with the avanyu in relief on the side.  As well, Tony Da made on jar with lizard handles in 1967-8, which is now in the Phibrook Museum (#7095).  The black and sienna of the jar and the etched medallions are certainly a reference for Russell’s latest piece.  This jar has sienna medallions on each side. They are etched with traditional San Ildefonso birds.  Each medallion is surrounded by two bands of hei-shi beads.  The handles are in the shape of the avanyu, much as on Ramona’s bowl.  The neck of the jar has a cloud pattern and the remainder of the piece is a micaceous clay slip.  The lid is fired to a near gunmetal appearance and has a sienna top and a single inset piece of turquoise.  The bottom of the jar has a “foot” which is reminiscent of historic San Ildefonso pottery and it is also indented. The hei-shi beads are all made by the Calabaza family from Santo Domingo Pueblo.  The jar seamlessly blends the old with the new and creates a new vision of how potters can derive inspiration from the past while creating their own new vessels.

$ 6,200.00
Sale!
King, Charles S., “Spoken Through Clay”

Spoken Through Clay

A NEW  RELEASE SPECIAL:  $95.00, including shipping (US)! Check out the new review in the Denver Post!

 Just a few things which make this book unique!
*   The size!  The book is 11.75″ x 14.25″ and weights over 8 pounds!
*  The photography of the pottery is stunning, emphasizing the individual pieces.
*  Each caption is the artist discussing the individual piece on the page.
*  The artist “biographies” are from interviews with the artists and they discuss their art, culture, lives and history.
*  Organization: The book is not organized by pueblo or family, but entails new ways to think about the future of Native pottery.
*  Printing in Italy gives the book very high quality color and paper.
* The photos of the living artists were taken by Will Wilson using a tin-type process. He was a recipient of the 2107 New Mexico Governor’s Award for the Arts in photography!
*  The book features work by more than 30 contemporary potters and more than a dozen important historic potters.
*  There are essays by myself, Peter Held and Eric Dobkin.  They add to the overall understanding of the project a historic perspective.

_____________________________________________

August 18, Pasatiempo Review

“Charles S. King’s new book, Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery in the Southwest, The Eric S. Dobkin Collection, is spectacularly heavy —which is a problem from a practical standpoint, because once you open it, you won’t want to put it down. With dreamy tintype artist portraits by Diné photographer Will Wilson, dazzlingly crisp images from Addison Doty, and intimate first-person essays written by dozens of artists, the book is a visually delicious, intellectually consuming foray into historic and contemporary Southwestern pottery. In short, prepare to swoon.

If you’re thinking of this as a coffee-table book, you’ll need to imagine a decently sized coffee table. The book is more than a foot tall and, when opened, two feet wide, but its outsize appearance belies the often delicate beauty of its contents: hundreds of individual pieces of pottery from Eric S. Dobkin’s exquisitely curated collection — arguably the largest and most important of its kind. Gallery owner, author, and Pueblo pottery expert King designed Spoken Through Clay to be approachable for those unfamiliar with Native American pottery. “In the age of social media, I wanted to make the book both visually striking and personal,” King said. The book opens with essays by King, Dobkin, and curator Peter Held, who calls clay “the most archival of materials … seductive, sensuous, responsive, geologic, and malleable.”

“I wanted the end result of the book to be that the reader would connect with the artists in a personal way, beyond just the art, and understand the time it takes to become an artist, to achieve success,” King said. Sprawling yet intimate, Spoken Through Clay introduces its readers not just to the beauty of Southwestern pottery but also to the fascinating stories of the people who make it.Iris McLister, Pasatiempo

____________________________________

“It’s one of the things that makes us who we are. It’s what holds our family together. We are a family of potters. It’s our identity. People don’t realize how much work goes into it just processing the clay and making it. You have to do it with your heart.”—Linda Tafoya-Sanchez

 

FEATURED ARTISTS Grace Medicine Flower • Dextra Quotskuyva • Autumn Borts-Medlock • Jody Naranjo • Harrison Begay Jr. • Jordan Roller • Sara Fina Tafoya • Lonnie Vigil • Margaret Tafoya • Steve Lucas • LuAnn Tafoya • Loren Ami • Toni Roller • Popovi Da • Linda Tafoya-Sanchez • Mark Tahbo • James Ebelacker• Yvonne Lucas • Jeff Roller • Lisa Holt • Harlan Reano • Nampeyo • Jacquie Stevens • Nathan Youngblood • Jacob Koopee Jr. • Jennifer Moquino • Christopher Youngblood • Maria Martinez • Tony Da • Tammy Garcia • Virgil Ortiz • Joseph Lonewolf • Johnathan Naranjo • Nancy Youngblood • Les Namingha • Russell Sanchez • Christine McHorse • Richard Zane Smith • Rondina Huma • Susan Folwell • Dominique Toya • Jody Folwell

Spoken Through Clay features the pottery of iconic Native American artists from historic potters Nampeyo and Maria Martinez, to contemporary potters Tammy Garcia, Virgil Ortiz, and many others, are featured in a new book published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. Spoken Through Clay: Native Pottery of the Southwest showcases nearly three hundred pottery vessels from the acclaimed Eric S. Dobkin Collection, covering a wide range of mostly Pueblo artists from the Southwest.

“The physical scale of the vessels combined with the depth of the contemporary collection [is] breathtaking,” says author Charles S. King. The book is part of a “transitional process of looking to the clay, the vessel, and the potter’s voice and allowing the pieces to stand on the merit of their artistic integrity.”

The book includes portraits and voices of renowned potters speaking about their artistry and technique, families, culture, and traditions. Many of the artists are connected by Pueblos, generations, or family members. Dynamic color photography captures the depth and dimension of the pieces, while the artists provide an illuminating perspective through narrative captions. Artists, academics, collectors, family members, and gallerists add additional insight about the lives, historical context, and importance of these potters and their work.

SPOKEN THROUGH CLAY Native Pottery of the Southwest The Eric S. Dobkin Collection
By Charles S. King Essay by Peter Held

Artist portraits by Will Wilson
ISBN: 978-0-89013-624-9

352 pages, 320 color plates, 40 artist portraits

Publication Date: August 01, 2017
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Charles S. King is the author of Born of Fire: The Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya, The Life and Art of Tony Da, Virgil Ortiz: Revolt 1680/2180, and numerous articles on Pueblo pottery. He has served on boards of art associations, judged pottery at prestigious events, and lectures about the art form. His business King Galleries represents many of today’s leading Native potters and important historic works in clay. Charles lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

$ 125.00 $ 95.00
Sanchez, Russell & Arthur Lopez – Immaculate Conception & Avanyu Jar

Russell Sanchez (San Ildefonso) and Arthur Lopez (Spanish), have created unique collaborative works for the first time this year.  The vessel was made by Russell and stone polished with a black clay. The wood sections were carved by Arthur.  After the piece is carved, is covered in gesso (a glue made from rabbit hide) which is allowed to dry and then sanded.  It is painted with both natural and water color pigment.  Natural colored pigments, such as the brown, are derived from black walnut hulls.  Russell uses traditional clay from San Ildefonso, which is then coil built, stone polished and traditionally fired.  These are the time involved and historic foundations for this collaboration.

The jar has a black and red polished surface. The neck and base are polished black and there are very classic San Ildefonso style handles.  The central band is polished with a deep red clay. There are inset bands of turquoise hei-shi beads.  The coloration of the firing of the black is deep and a striking complement to the deep red.

Arthur and Russell said of this jar:

This jar combines to similar concepts, the Immaculate Conception and the pueblo Avanyu.  The vessel is a classic San Ildefonso water jar.  The black, red and tan are representative of the San Ildefonso polychrome pottery.  The jar is a “pot within a pot”, where the outer pot represents the acceptance of the pueblos of Catholicism.  People looked at the religion and not how it was forced on the pueblo people.  The avanyu (water serpent) encircling the back of the jar is representative of the avanyu as a symbol of cleansing.  In a similar manner the wood lid is a representation of the Immaculate Conception.  The painted section is painted in a Spanish style and has baby Jesus and a lamb, representing ‘the Lamb of God’.  So, much as the, “lamb of God washes away the sins of the world”, the avanyu is a cleansing force in the Pueblo world.

$ 11,500.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Black-and-Red Bowl with Corn Designs & Lid

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  This bowl is a classic shape and the body is fully polished black.  The design is a corn pattern (note the dot in the center) etched as a checkerboard pattern.  Surrounding the corn is a sun design.  This “flower” like pattern is one that was originated by Tonita Roybal and found on her work from the early 1920’s.  Separating each of the sections is a matte red cloud pattern.  The designs fits perfectly to the shape of the bowl and elegant flow of design.  The neck of the bowl is fully polished a very deep red.  The lid is inspired by the dome lids of early San Ildefonso pottery.  The combination of the black, red, buff and matte red make this a true-polychrome vessel.  There is additional black hei-shi beads inset into the jar.  Russell has brought back the deep red clay slip which was used at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s and 30’s.  It is an extraordinary coloration!  For the polished black mica, Russell said that he was inspired by the use of the micaceous clay on utilitarian vessels and how he could use it to better match his highly polished surfaces.  The result is a black stone polished micaceous surface which has a high shine and a color that somehow ranges from gray to black to almost a blue, depending on the light!  It is quite exceptional!  The bowl is signed on the bottom in the clay.

Click here to read: Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 7,400.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Black-and-Red Water Jar with Raindrop Rim

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  This is a classic double shoulder water jar. At the shoulder the jar reaches a sharp edge and drops down before it rises up to the double shoulder and the neck.  The body of the piece is polished with a black clay while there is a single band of deep red polished area.  The rim of the jar is polished a deep red and it is fluted or has a “raindrop rim”, as it is traditionally called.  Separating the various carved and clay colored areas are shell and turquoise hei-shi beads.  The three strands of white add a striking complement to the red and black areas.  Russell said that he was inspired by the use of the black  mica clay on utilitarian vessels and how he could use it to better match his highly polished surfaces.  The result is a black stone polished surface which has a high shine and a color that somehow ranges from gray to black to almost a blue, depending on the light!  It is quite exceptional!  The red is a recent addition to his pottery, and again, harkens to the early San Ildefonso pottery.   The bottom of the jar is indented, which reflects the historic San Ildefonso pottery with the indented base which would be worn on the head.   The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

Click here to read: Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 5,500.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Black-and-Red Bowl with Bear Lid

Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery.  Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched.  The bowl is polished with a black clay and there is a single band of deep red.  Separating the black and red stone polished areas are two bands of turquoise hei-shi beads.  The lid to the bowl is a bear which is also polished black. Note how inside the bear legs it is the red clay slip. The proportionality of the bear and the bowl work perfectly!  Russell said that he was inspired by the use of the black  mica clay on utilitarian vessels and how he could use it to better match his highly polished surfaces.  The result is a black stone polished surface which has a high shine and a color that somehow ranges from gray to black to almost a blue, depending on the light!  It is quite exceptional!  The red is a recent addition to his pottery, and again, harkens to the early San Ildefonso pottery.  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.

Click here to read: Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 3,600.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Large Long Neck Jar with Avanyu & Lid

Stunning! This is one of the largest pieces we have had from Russell Sanchez in a while!  It is a classic shape with an innovative use of clay and design.  The shape of the has a low sharp shoulder and a long neck.  The shape of the jar is a classic which is typically seen in the work of his aunt, Rose Gonzales.  The jar is fired black and incised with a water serpent around the shoulder.  There is a single piece of inset turquoise for the eye. The neck of the jar is fully polished and then two-toned green at the rim with an incised mountain pattern.  There are also additional insets of turquoise hei-shi beads.  The lid has a rectangular finial with a carved “key hole” design.  The edges are polished and the top of the lid is incised, two-toned and inset with two pieces of turquoise.  The bottom of the jar has a “foot” which is reminiscent of historic San Ildefonso pottery and it is also indented.  The gunmetal firing of the jar can easily be seen in the area on the neck below the green band, where there is a “halo” of black.  The hei-shi beads are all made by the Calabaza family from Santo Domingo Pueblo.  The exciting addition to this jar is that we were there when it was fired!  There are additional photos of the piece before and right after the traditional firing at Russell’s house.  What a great piece of provenance to add to this important jar!

$ 9,800.00
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