Sanchez, Russell – Water Jar with Old Style Avanyu and Pueblo Birds
This is a striking San Ildefonso water jar by Russell Sanchez. The jar has a low shoulder with an elongated neck and a turned out rim. The rim of the jar is fully polished. The designs around the shoulder were etched before the jar was fired. There are three old-style San Ildefonso birds. Below them is the very old style Avanyu (water serpent). Take a closer look at each bird. Behind the back of each one is a different design. Clouds, sun and mountains. The wings on each bird are also different. There is a checkerboard design around the neck and the lower shoulder. At the base is a sun design. The jar is highly polished and was fired to a near gunmetal metallic coloration. There are four inset bands of hematite hei-shi beads. It is certainly always the challenge to an artist like Russel to let the clay, form, polish, and firing speak for itself. That is the voice given to this vessel. The jar is signed on the bottom in the clay, “Russell”. The last photo has images I put together when Russell was firing the jar. You can see how it started out red (left) then in the fire and just after the manure was removed (lower) and finally the jar black. The traditional firing is always an amazing process and on which Russell views as importantly each other stage of his pottery creation.