Sanchez, Russell – Polychrome Jar with Plant and Sun Designs
This is a traditional shape 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 a wide shoulder and a short neck. The inside of the neck is polished red while the rim is black. The outside of the jar is fully polished white. The last photo shows the white clay in its raw form. After the white is polished, he etches the designs into the clay. The additional red and black colorations are also added before the piece is fired. The second to last photo shows this jar as the colors of clay were being added. This is a very time-consuming process so that the clays don’t bleed into one another. The designs on this jar are a series of flowers separated by sun designs. After the jar is fired, Russell added two sections of copper leafing and three bands of hematite hei-shi beads. 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.