Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Jar with Avanyu and Lightning Designs
This is a creative polychrome water 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 jar has an elegant shape with a round body with an elongated neck and a turned-out rim. The jar is unusual in coloration with a white and red combination. Interestingly, there was a period in the 1920s at San Ildefonso when potters, such as Tonita Roybal, made white slipped pieces with red designs (see last photo). The second to the last photo has the actual white clay Russell uses for his pottery in a raw form. The white is polished and all the designs incised before firing. This jar has an avanyu encircling the piece. The neck has lighting and cloud patterns etched into the highly polished red. The rim of the jar is also polished white. There are three bands of brass hei-shi beads inlaid into the jar on the neck. All the clays he is using are the same as those used in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. His deep red slip is a more 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.