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russell shanchez

Russell SanchezRussell 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, inlaid, designed, and fired with utilizing traditional Native American pottery methods. Russell learned to make pottery from his great-aunt, noted potter and pottery matriarch Rose Gonzales (1900-1989.)  He started making pottery at the early age of 12 years old on the San Ildefonso Pueblo. Russell has received numerous awards and recognition for his pottery throughout his career.  Including such awards as '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  – Black Water Jar with Avanyu & Gourd Ridge Lid

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 wide round shoulder.  Note how after the shoulder there is almost a flatness to the jar before the neck.  I took some of the photos straight on just to show how perfectly symmetrical the jar is in form!  This proportionality is technically difficult to achieve.  The jar is etched with a water serpent (avanyu) before it is fired.  The rim of the jar has 16 melon ribs carved into the clay.  The matchup with the 16 ribs which are deeply carved into the lid.  The ribs on the lid are slipped with a micaceous clay which when fired is almost metallic in color!  The top of the lid is fully polished to again compliment the polished surface of the jar.  The polishing on this jar is stunning that he is able to achieve such an amazing polish just using a stone!  Check out the neck and the base and the high shine is easily seen.  There are four bands of jet hei-shi beads which are inset into the jar around the neck and shoulder.  They separate bands of checkerboard mica and matt sections. The checkerboard use of the mica is subtle but stunning!  The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay. The last photos are some of the jar being fired (red before firing, in the fire, out of the fire but now black and surrounded by the manure and finally Russell holding the jar after it is fired).

Russell says of his work:

“I don’t let a pot go until I think it’s ready. I’ve had pots sitting there for months that I don’t think are ready, and then an idea will come, from anywhere, anytime, and it’s like, OK, that’s what this pot needs. That’s what they tell you at home [on the pueblo]: When the time is ready, it will happen. That’s when you finish up and let it go.”

$ 8,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Polychrome Mountain Lion Box

This is a very creative box by Russell Sanchez.  The shape is inspired by the historic San Ildefonso boxes from the 1920’s.  Here, Russell has furthered the connection to the historic pieces with his focus on the polychrome coloration.  The red is a very deep coloration and the same deep red as used in the 1920’s. The black areas are a black micaceous clay which he has polished.  When the red or black areas are etched away, they leave exposed clay, which is tan in coloration. That creates the polychrome coloration, which are the same three tonalities used in early San Ildefonso pottery.

The box itself is inspired by the painting of Florentino Montoya form the early 1900’s.  This box has two sides of red and two sides of black. The lid is half black and half red.  The lid can also be set for the black to match up, or for it to be a contrast.  Florentino was famous for his alternating and switching of colors on his painted designs.  Here the lid has very delicately etched fine-line patterns which represent the mountain lions when they are drawn as petroglyphs.  The sides of the box are etched in two sections with cloud and rain designs. The medallions are unique in design.  Russell has etched and textured the mountain lions in each of the medallions. They are much in the style of the animal imagery seen on San Ildefonso pottery before 1900.  The mountain lion design is an equally significant one on this piece as Russell says here that the mountain lions represent the twin war gods who protect the village.  Each of the medallions is surrounded by a band of hei-shi beads.  Again, the medallions are the opposite color of the surrounding clay.  The box was traditionally fired and the result is a striking coloration, especially for the red. The box is signed on the bottom.

$ 3,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Melon Jar with Waterfall Rim & Lid

This classic water jar by Russell Sanchez is a modern take on historic San Ildefonso pottery.  This jar is focused on the complexity of form and color and just the simplest addition of etched design.  The shape of the jar is inspired by the historic Pueblo water jar with a round shoulder and turned out rim. The colors on this jar are all from natural clay slips and they are simply stunning. The deep red is the same red clay which was used in the 1920’s.   The black areas are a black micaceous clay which he has polished.  On this piece, the black is an even coloration, which further enhances the red.  The base of the jar has 28  indented gourd or melon rib sections.  They are deeply carved into the clay creating an undulating appearance.  The base then comes up to the shoulder and there is just a slight dip in the jar before extending up to the neck.  The photo of the jar on its side reveals the depth of the indention at the shoulder.  This is technically difficult to create.  The neck of the jar is straight and the rim is flat.  Amazingly, the inside of the rim is carved with melon ribs creating the “waterfall rim”.  The rim is polished red while the melon section is polished with black mica.  There is a single section which is matte and inset with jet stones and surrounded on both sides by turquoise hei-shi beads.  Check out the tiny incised dots on the rim and neck of the jar.  They are a subtle but striking addition.  The jar also has a lid, which is carved with gourd sections and they alternate between matte and black mica.  The top of the lid if fully polished red.  There are inset jet stones on the end of the lid and the top has a piece of turquoise.  The lid is a wonderful addition, as it covers the “waterfall” leaving it as a surprise when the lid is removed.  The deep red on the lid also matches the deep red on the neck of the jar.  The jar is traditionally fired outside and it is signed in the clay on the bottom.

Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 6,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Polychrome Water Jar with Bear Lid

This is water jar by Russell Sanchez is visually stunning in person!  It is a larger water jar shape with the round body and the fluted rim.  The coloration is part of what is so spectacular. The red is a very deep coloration and the same deep red as used in the 1920’s!  The black areas are a black micaceous clay which he has polished.  When the red or black areas are etched away, they leave exposed clay, which is tan in coloration. That creates the polychrome coloration, which are the same three tonalities used in early San Ildefonso pottery.  On a purely visual level the black mica, deep red clay and the tan are a visually dynamic combination.  For Russell, the shape becomes the canvas for further exploration of San Ildefonso imagery.  The bear lid symbolizes the strength of the bear in the fetishes and the red sides of the jar are then etched with imagery that has stylized birds separated by checkerboard bands. Of course, it is the melon swirl base, neck and lid which are the most impressive!  The ribs are carved at an  angle and fully polished. They seem to flow from the lid to the neck and the base keeping the jar visually in motion with the reflection of the light.  This jar pulls from such a rich context that there become many levels of interpretation and enjoyment.  There are additional bands of shell hei-shi beads which are subtle and don’t overwhelm the rest of the designs.  The jar is traditionally fired outside and it is signed in the clay on the bottom.

Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 18,000.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Polychrome Box with Bear Lid

This is an exceptional larger box by Russell Sanchez.  The shape is inspired by the historic San Ildefonso boxes from the 1920’s.  Here, Russell has furthered the connection to the historic pieces with his focus on the polychrome coloration.  The red is a very deep coloration and the same deep red as used in the 1920’s!  The black areas are a black micaceous clay which he has polished.  When the red or black areas are etched away, they leave exposed clay, which is tan in coloration. That creates the polychrome coloration, which are the same three tonalities used in early San Ildefonso pottery. The sides of the box have bear medallions etched into the red clay.  Each bear has an inset piece of turquoise.  They are surrounded by a band of hei-shi beads.  On the sides, there are rain clouds in a matte red and each has an inset piece of hematite.  It is the top of the box which a unique variation for Russell. The top is polished red and there is a circular band of matte tan which is painted with the matte black.  Russell shaped the bear on this box so that the beet were closer together, giving the piece a more sculptural appearance.  The back of the bear is inset with turquoise and hei-shi beads.  The black polished mica on this piece turned out perfectly with a deep black/brown coloration.  The interior of the box is slipped with micaceous clay.  The box is traditionally fired outside and the box and lid are both signed in the clay on the bottom.

$ 6,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Polychrome Jar with Plant and Rain Designs

This spectacular water jar by Russell Sanchez is a modern take on the very classic style of San Ildeofnso pottery.  The shape of the jar is inspired by the historic Pueblo water jar with a wide shoulder and turned out rim. The colors on this jar are all from natural clay slips and they are simply stunning. The deep red is the same red clay which was used in the 1920’s!  The black areas are a black micaceous clay which he has polished.  On this piece, the black seems an even deep tone, which further enhances the red.  The shoulder of the jar is divided into sections.  The etched designs are inspired by the work of Tonita & Juan Cruz, with the thin lines, the linear rain patterns, the swirling interconnected designs and the mirror imaging.  They are complicated patterns delicately etched into the clay.  Each of the red panels is separated by a diamond-shaped snow design.  Now for the complicated part to this jar!  The base is impressed with sixteen melon ribs, as is the neck. The reflection of these in the light with the deep black, is visually striking. The rim of the jar has sixteen ribs, each rounded out and ending at a small ledge, which he built into the piece to hold the lid!  The lid is polished black mica and the deep red.  The top of the lid is so highly polished it almost seems to be a stone!  The jar has inset hei-shi beads made from shell.  There are four rows inset into the jar and two in the lid.  The new work of Russell’s pulls from such a rich context that there become many levels of interpretation and enjoyment.  The jar is traditionally fired outside and it is signed in the clay on the bottom.

“There is a huge change going on right now. People are rediscovering Pueblo pottery.  History has a lot to do with it. Every time I sell a pot, that’s what I talk about. It says something and it speaks. It’s true. The pots do speak to you, and you can feel the energy and what the pot is saying.” Russell Sanchez in “Spoken Through Clay”.

Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 7,800.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Gunmetal Box with Deer Medallions

Russell Sanchez is one of the few Pueblo potters who makes traditional style boxes.  Each piece is flat on the bottom (not started in the traditional puki). The sides are flat the box is square or rectangular in shape.  This box was fired to a gunmetal finish, which is somewhat metallic in coloration.  The lid has etched bear paws on the handle for the lid, along with a cloud design.  Two of the sides have etched deer in mica slipped medallions.  The opposite sides have rain cloud designs using very traditional San Ildefonso imagery.  Russell has used black hei-shi beads to surround the two medallions. On the lid and sides of the box he has inset hemitite.  It is the perfect material to use on a gunmetal box as it reflects much the same coloration as the gunmetal fired surface.  The style of this box is similar to the earlier ones made at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s.  Russell continues to derive inspiration from the Pueblo potters of the past, yet stylize it to make it his own.   The box and lid are both signed on the bottom.

Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past

$ 3,000.00
Sanchez, Russell  – Waterfall Rim & Gourd Base Water Jar

This is a classic form of water jar by Russell Sanchez.  The shape is a very traditional form with a wide round shoulder and straight rim.  The edge of the rim is flat, but the inside of the neck is carved and polished with 16 melon ribs creating the “waterfall” effect!  The neck of the jar has four bear paws and the shoulder has a micaceous clay slip which, when fired, is a mettalic coloration.  Above and below the mica band are jet hei-shi beads.  The base of the jar is carved or indented with a “gourd” design. The way the light hits is perfect creating a sort of “shimmer” when the piece is turned!  The entire surface is stone polished and it is always amazing that when Russell polishes the inside of the neck, the jar doesn’t crack.  It is fascinating how Russell has gone back to revive old style and create their modern versions.  Russell continues to creatively revive historic San Ildefonso designs with his innovative style of pottery.  The bottom of the jar has the classic indention of traditional San Ildefonso water jars. Russell uses these historic elements to keep them alive on his contemporary pottery.  It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell”.

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

$ 3,000.00
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.

$ 14,000.00
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 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  – 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
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
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