Sanchez, Russell – “Ignacia’s Flowers” Polychrome Jar with 146 Inset Stone
This is a creative polychrome jar by Russell Sanchez. He continues to be one of the true innovators and revivalists in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil-built, stone polished, and etched. This shape of his jar is inspired by the work his great-grandmother, Ignacia Sanchez (b. 1865) was the mother of noted potter Ramona Sanchez and painter Abel Sanchez (grandfather to Russell). Ignacia was known for her creative shapes and painted designs that often left open space. Russell has studied her work and uses shapes and designs for artistic inspiration. The last photo shows this jar next to a piece by Ignacia. Russell’s jar has a similar wide shoulder shape. There are rain clouds and flowers around the shoulder. Separating the rainclouds are plants sprouting, and when you look directly down on the top. a flower is evident! Russell said the designs below the shoulder are a series of Ignacia’s designs. There are inset turquoise stones around the neck, the shoulder, and in the rainbows above the rainclouds. There are larger stones below the shoulder and more in the plants! In sum, there are 146 stones inset into this jar! Add to that three bands of inset hematite hei-shi beads, and you have a piece that is quite amazing! The piece has a polished red rim and Russell uses the same polychrome colorations as earlier San Ildefonso pottery. The colorations of black, red, and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. His deep red clay is another recent addition to his clay art starting around 2005. As Russell continues to innovate from historic designs, he says, “Tradition means moving forward and adding to it. You keep moving forward. If we stayed stagnant we would no longer exist.” The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Russell”. It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives.