Sanchez, Russell – Black-and-Red Water Jar with Raindrop Rim
Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished, and etched. This is a classic double shoulder water jar. At the shoulder, the jar reaches a sharp edge and drops down before it rises up to the double shoulder and the neck. The body of the piece is polished with black clay. At the base of the neck, there is a checkerboard band with alternating deep red and matte corn design. The neck of the jar is also polished black. The rim of the jar is polished a deep red and it is fluted or has a “raindrop rim”, as it is traditionally called. Separating the various carved and clay-colored areas are shell and turquoise hei-shi beads. The three strands of white add a striking complement to the red and black areas. Russell said that he was inspired by the use of the black mica clay on utilitarian vessels and how he could use it to better match his highly polished surfaces. The result is a black stone polished surface that 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 red is a recent addition to his pottery, and again, harkens to the early San Ildefonso pottery. The bottom of the jar is indented, which reflects the historic San Ildefonso pottery with the indented base which would be worn on the head. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay.