Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Bear with Sun Design
Russell Sanchez said this is his first polychrome bear using the polished white clay. He continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched. The bear is fully polished with a white clay. The sides are each incised with a heartline. The back has a sun and a terraced cloud pattern. Note how the incised areas are etched out of the polished white clay and then slipped with red and black clay for the coloration. It is a VERY time consuming to add the other clay slips to the incised areas and not have it touch the polished surface! The inside of the legs are polished red on one side and black on the other. Russell said this was to represent the Summer and Winter. Across the back are four bands of hei-shi beads. Two are jet and two are turquoise. The eyes of the bear are also turquoise. The bear is signed on the two of the feet, “Russell”. 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.” It is exciting to see how this imagery is not new but Russell’s reinterpretation of it both modernizes and revives the clay.