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.”
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