Sanchez, Russell – Red Bear with Mountain Designs and Turquoise
5.25"long x 3"h
Russell Sanchez continues to be one of the true innovators in Pueblo pottery. Each piece is perfectly coil built, stone polished and etched. This bear is one of his classic shapes. The bear is fully polished with a deep red clay slip. Russell has brought back the deep red clay slip which was used at San Ildefonso in the 1920’s and 30’s. It is an extraordinary coloration! The black area along the back is slipped with a black micaceous clay and then stone polished. This is a relatively new technique for Russell and one which adds another level of complexity to his pottery. The black polished area harkens back to the black-on-red pottery of the late 1800’s at San Ildefonso. This bear is fully designed with a heartline and a mountain pattern surrounding the two sides of the black band. The black micaceous area is etched with a prayer feather pattern. What you can’t feel is that the black polished areas on the legs and across the back, while it would normally be rough in texture. It is as smooth as the red polished surface! There are inset band of turquoise hei-shi beads and a single large inset piece of Kingman turquoise along the neck of the bear. Note as well the use of the black micaceous clay for the legs of the bear! The bears are symbolic of good luck and in many of the pueblos are carved from stone. The bear is hollow as the piece is coil built. It is signed on the bottom in the clay. Stunning!
Click here to read: Russell Sanchez: Contemporizing the Pueblo Pottery Past