Sanchez, Russell – Gunmetal Fired Jar with Gourd Base, Carved Feathers and Mtn. Lion Lid
This is a spectacular 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 a round body and an elongated neck. The base of the jar has 16 “gourd” or indented sections swirling up from the base. The shoulder has 16 carved eagle feathers swirling in the opposite direction. The neck has 16 more indented gourd sections swirling the opposite direction up to the rim. The entire surface of the jar is fully polished and the varying angles of carving or impressed designs create a kinetic sense of movement as it is hight by the light. Consider as well how smooth the gourd areas have to both impressed and then sanded to get an even depth and subtle appearance.
Separating each section is a polished band, each of which has two inset bands of hematite hei-shi beads. So, why hematite? Russell has begun to use it on 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. The lid of the jar has a sculptural mountain lion. Russell’s use of the mountain lions is partially inspired by the stone mountain lion formations at Bandolier. On this jar, the lid has a carved mountain lion that has a sculptural appearance with angular feet and a swishing tail. The mountain lion is polished while the base is slipped with mica. The jar is fired to a near gunmetal appearance which is striking with the high polish. It is signed on the bottom in the clay. Congrats to Russell Sanchez for his 2019 “Best of Pottery” Santa Fe Indian Market 2019. The last photo is the jar before it was fired black.