Sanchez, Russell – Red Bear with Rain Designs and Turquoise
WOW! This is a stunning large clay bear by Russell Sanchez. The bear is coil built, stone polished, etched, and traditionally fired. The bear is fully polished a deep red. The inside of the legs are polished black. The back of the bear is fully designed. Russell said that one side was meant to represent one San Ildefonso Kiva group, and the opposite side represents the other group. Towards the head and back are large rain cloud designs. They are each inset with an older turquoise stone. The greenish coloration of the stones is perfect against the red polished surface. Across the back are four bands of greenish turquoise hei-shi beads, alternating with four three bands of bronze beads. The eyes are inset with 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.