Sanchez, Russell – Box with Checkerboard Design & Bear Lid
This is a very creative box by Russell Sanchez. His recent work is a modern take on historic San Ildefonso pottery. This box is etched with five horizontal bands which alternate between matte and polished areas. Believe it or not this is very difficult to carve the horizontal lines into the clay and have them all turn out even! Then there are is the checkerboard pattern. If you take a closer look you will see that they alternate from polished in one row to matte in the next! Again, scan in on the photos and check out the precision of the etching on this piece. It is amazing! Separating each of the five bands of checkerboard are six bands of hematite hei-shi beads, which give the piece a very modernist appearance. As for the lid, the bear is very sculptural and it is fully polished while the remainder of the lid is rounded and slipped with mica. This may seem to be a simple design at first glance and yet it is one of the more precision challenging pieces Russell makes, any line was not perfectly even would throw off the design. The jar and the lid are both signed on the bottom in the clay. In terms of the round shape, it is a style of box seen at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s. I included a photo of Maria Martinez round box from around 1924-5. This jar is a wonderful revival of a historic shape!
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