Sanchez, Russell – Red Bear with Sun Designs and Hei-Shi Band
6.25"long x 4"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! This piece reflects on a very significant design, which is associated with Tonita Roybal. It is the “sun” pattern which is on the back of the bear. This design, which is painted with a black mica, is a very tight hatchwork pattern. The sun pattern is one that Tonita was inspired to use from some Acoma pottery, which speaks to the potters looking at a variety of designs and styles in the 1920’s. Tonita modified it and it was identified in Guthe’s “San Ildefonso Pueblo Pottery Making” in 1925 by Tonita as one of her designs. The last photo is a close up of the “sun” design on a black-on-red jar by Tonita Roybal. Here, Russell has strikingly painted and then etched the design into the clay. There is also a heartline from the mouth of the bear. The back has a series of five horizontal rows of hei-shi beads. The eyes are also turquoise. 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