This is a complex long neck jar by Russell Sanchez. The shape of the jar is inspired by the work of his great-aunt, Rose Gonzales. The long, straight neck is one which she made famous and which Russell has modified in his current work. Here the neck has 16 carve swirling ribs. The rim of the jar is polished, as is the interior of the neck. The body of the jar is an exceptional shape which comes up from base and then extends nearly flat to the neck! That is always a difficult transition in coil built pottery. The body of the jar is fully polished and it is etched with three stylized bird tail designs. The style of the design is reminiscent of the work of early San Ildefonso innovators such as Tonita Roybal, Rosalie Aguilar and Juan Cruz. The transition to the long neck has a single band of mica and there are two bands of hematite hei-shi beads along with inset smaller round beads. The So, why hematite? Russell has begun to use it on his recent pieces for several reasons. There is a traditional aspect in that women wear hematite bracelets when they do certain traditional dances at the Pueblo. There is also hematite content in the clay slips use on the pottery. Russell also notes that when he is able to fire his pieces to a gunmetal appearance, the hematite captures the shine and also gives them a contemporary appearance. As Russell has said:
“I’m a traditionalist all the way through. Innovation is part of our tradition. You use the same materials and tools that you have, and the same design elements, and the Clay Mother will come through you for what she wants you to do,” he explains. “Instead of doing the same cloud pattern or serpent pattern, you take that and make it your own. So, in fact, everything I’m doing is old, but new.” Russell Sanchez, Southwest Art Magazine
The jar is highly fired with a near gunmetal appearance to the surface. The contrasts of polished, mica and polished mica give the jar a dynamic appearance. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell”.
Click here to read: Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past