Sanchez, Russell – Black & Sienna Bear with Old Style Peyote Bird Design
This is a stunning large clay bear by Russell Sanchez. The bear is coil built, stone polished, etched, and traditionally fired. The bear is fully polished and fired a gunmetal black. The inside of the legs is polished mica. The back of the bear is etched with an old-style San Ildefonso peyote bird. It’s a similar design seen in the paintings by Abel Sanchez and Julian Martinez, from the 1920’s. The bird has two inset pieces of turquoise. There are also turquoise insets for the eyes. Note that the bear has a heartline and there are etched bear paws on the front legs. The etched area on the back has been two-toned sienna. It is surrounded by three bands of hematite and bronze hei-shi beads. They are a perfect coloration to complement the black-and-sienna color. The bear is signed on the two of the feet, “Russell”. 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.” It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives the clay.