Russell’s formation of complex and colorful polychrome work is fantastic. This lidded bowl is hand coiled, incised and painted with all natural slips. It is traditionally fired outdoors. Russell explained to me that the shape of his jar is inspired by the work his great-grandmother, Ignacia Sanchez (b. 1865) She was the mother of noted potter Ramona Sanchez and painter Abel Sanchez (Russell’s grandfather). Over the years, Russell has seriously studied her works. She has certainly been an inspiration for him. He takes her shapes, and floral patterns and makes them his own. It is so special to see a talented living artist devote himself to honoring his past in his current creations. There is beauty in the images of the rain clouds and the sprouting flowers. Below those patterns are a checkerboard design with turquoise dots of rain and embedded superfine hematite beads as a border. These polychrome colors of black, red, and white are all seen in San Ildefonso pottery from the 1880s to about 1920. The stippled painting adds a contemporary feel to the work. The bottom of the jar is slipped and polished to a deep red tone.

Russell has coiled a remarkable deep red polished bear to act as the lid. The lid is a piece of clay sculpture all by itself. He has placed the bear on a black mica base – further setting off the lovely color scheme. More turquoise stones are used to blend in with the stonework on the body of the bowl. The bear lid is the same red tone as the bottom of the jar. Total magnificence! This is a brilliant traditional creation.

4 1/2” high by 4 ½” wide