This new multi toned polychrome jar by Russell is fantastic. He explained to me that the older San Ildefonso potters often made their pottery with images depicting the “great birds” So Russell has creatively changed that imagery to show the “great fish”. This is a classic water jar shape, with a narrow base. The main body of the jar is slipped with a soft, light red tone that almost has an orange cast to it. Each of the three medallions is slipped to a deep red tone. Such a beautiful contrast. Inside these medallions the fish are different, with detailed incised design work. High grade Kingman turquoise is set into the body of each fish. In a wonderfully artistic embellishment, Russell has encircled each medallion with a black and white pattern, using black jet Heishi, and light olive shell Heishi which was made by the late outstanding jewelers, Mary and Joe Calabaza from Santo Domingo. He has used that same checkerboard pattern around the neck of the jar, which was a common design on old San Ildefonso pottery, but this time has designed that pattern in the three strands of Heishi. It is so striking. There are Russell’s trademark dots above the Heishi and also on the lower portion of the body of the jar. A beautiful cloud pattern is seen on the neck of the jar.

It is remarkable how far down into the jar Russel was able to polish. When he does that, there is a cohesiveness that happens in that visually one is seeing one tone on the top outside and in. This new creation is so totally unique, and so expertly executed in every way.

5″ high by 4″ wide