Sanchez, Russell – Black-and-Red Water Jar with Melon Swirl Base
Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched. This bowl is one of his classic shapes. This water jar is exceptional in form and design. In many ways, the use of the polished black mica surface along with the deep red and tan is like a revival of this historic polychrome pottery (black, red, tan). This jar is polished the deep red on the rim. The up and down undulation in the rim is historically called a “rainbow rim”. Note as well how far down the neck of the jar it is polished! The neck of the jar is polished with the black mica. The sun design is one that was made famous by Tonita Roybal in the 1920’s. Around the shoulder, the jar is polished deep red and black mica. The black mica area has a checkerboard pattern while the red areas are designs from old San Ildefonso pottery. Each design is different. What is really the unexpected aspect of this jar is the base, which is carved with a swirl melon rib pattern and polished with the black mica. Not only is it an amazing color, but the feel is extraordinary! The sharp edge of the swirl and the high polish really create a surprise when holding the piece. Russell has brought back the deep red clay slip which was used at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s and 30’s. It is an extraordinary coloration! For the polished black mica, Russell said that he was inspired by the use of the micaceous clay on utilitarian vessels and how he could use it to better match his highly polished surfaces. The result is a black stone polished micaceous surface which has a high shine and a color that somehow ranges from gray to black to almost a blue, depending on the light! It is quite exceptional! The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Russell”.