This is a dramatic new polychrome bowl from Russell. Like all his work, it is hand coiled, stone polished, incised and painted with all natural pigments, and fired outdoors. One of the things I so admire about Russell is how he takes historic designs, but contemporizes them, making them his own. He is definitely inspired by the work of older historic San Ildefonso potters, but always creates his very own signature pieces while he stays within the realm of his past.
One of the first things you notice about this bowl is the red slipped and polished opening on the inturned rim. It is incredible to see how far down into that opening he can polish. It takes amazing skill to do this. Three strands of black hematite heishi are imbedded in the bowl, acting as borders to this main design. The central image is the water serpent (avanyu) with a turquoise eye and dots on the horn. Russell incises that avanyu BEFORE he fires it outside, and then adds more black and red clay slips. The entire bottom of the bowl is again, highly polished deep red tone. This matches the opening so well, giving such cohesiveness to the color patterns. A polished black band separates the two lower strands of hematite. His trademark incised dots go around the whole bowl on the top of the red bottom. This new piece is truly magnificent.

3 ½” high by 3 ¾” wide

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