Sanchez, Russell – Gunmetal Water Jar with Birds and Waterfall Rim
This is a complex water jar by Russell Sanchez. The shape of the jar has a form with a rounded shoulder and a turned out rim. The neck of the jar is fully carved with a “waterfall” rim, which consists of 32 segments. Each is round out on both the inside and outside! They are slipped with a micaceous clay. The shoulder of the jar is fully polished and has three different birds. Each bird is very delicately etched into the clay with a lot of detail. The shoulder has diamond-shaped patterns again slipped with mica. The lower band of design is inspired by the work of Florentino Montoya, from the early 1900’s. They are flower and seed designs and each is different. Much like these, Florentino would create one area which was different in a series as a “signature”. Take a closer look at the seed designs in the plants and see that there is one which is different. Separating all the sections are inset hematite hei-shi beads. The 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. 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 and polished mica give the jar a dynamic appearance. It is signed on the bottom in the clay, ‘Russell”.
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