Sanchez, Russell – Carved 16 Swirl Neck Gunmetal Water Jar with Faceted Bands
This is a complex small neck jar by Russell Sanchez. The jar is carved around the neck with 16 melon ribs swirling to the rim. They are slipped with mica. The rim of the jar has the top of each rib stone polished. The area below the melon ribs has five horizontal bands. They are flat and create a “faceted” appearance. The result is striking as the light reflects off the surfaces. In addition, there is the feel of holding the piece and the sharp edges of each band against your hand. Russell has also inset two rows of hematite hei-shi beads. So, why hematite? Russell has begun to use it in his recent pieces for several reasons. There is a traditional aspect in that women wear hematite bracelets when they do certain traditional dances at the Pueblo. There is also hematite content in the clay slips use on the pottery. Russell also notes that when he is able to fire his pieces to a gunmetal appearance, the hematite captures the shine and also gives them a contemporary appearance. As Russell has said:
“I’m a traditionalist all the way through. Innovation is part of our tradition. You use the same materials and tools that you have, and the same design elements, and the Clay Mother will come through you for what she wants you to do,” he explains. “Instead of doing the same cloud pattern or serpent pattern, you take that and make it your own. So, in fact, everything I’m doing is old, but new.” Russell Sanchez, Southwest Art Magazine
The jar is highly fired with a near gunmetal appearance to the surface. The contrasts of polished mica surfaces give the jar a dynamic appearance. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell”. Note the “tiny” signature. Russell said that he has been signing all his 2020 pieces with this small signature.