Sanchez, Russell – 12″ Polychrome Plate with Pueblo Bird, Avanyu, Sun, over 300 Inset Stones
This is an exceptionally complex polychrome plate by Russell Sanchez. He continues to be one of the true innovators and revivalists in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished, and etched. This plate has a micaceous back and black mica rim. The rim has 153 inset pieces of turquoise. There is a band of checkerboard designs surrounded by jet heishi beads and with inset pieces of turquoise. The central medallion is polished white. There is a large classic San Ildefonso bird offset in the center with an avanyu and offset sun and clouds. The avanyu is highlighted with both black and red clay slips. This style was inspired by the black-and-red lines on the polychrome pottery of Maria Martinez & Popovi Da (see last two photos). The avanyu has a turquoise inset eye and is inset with 107 small pieces of coral. The bird has both coral and turquoise insets, along with Lone Mountain turquoise stones for the eyes and on the back of the bird. It is always amazing to think that after the white area is polished, all the designs are etched into the clay and then highlighted with red and black clay BEFORE it is fired. The plate was traditionally fired. The clay colorations of black, red, and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. His deep red clay is another recent addition to his clay art starting around 2005. As Russell continues to innovate from historic designs, he says, “Tradition means moving forward and adding to it. You keep moving forward. If we stayed stagnant we would no longer exist.” The plate is signed on the back in the clay, “Russell”. It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives. Congrats to Russell who one the 2022 Santa Fe Indian Market Best of Show! The plate comes with a custom made museum mount, which can be seen in the photos.