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Russell Sanchez, Episode 59

July 28th, 2023

Leroy visits with Russell Sanchez to talk about the history of San Ildefonso pottery, firing techniques, and influences. View new pottery by Russell Sanchez during Blue Rain Gallery's Annual Celebration of Native American Art August 17 - 20, 2023.
Every piece of pottery by Russell Sanchez displays a distinctive flair. He learned the techniques of traditional San Idelfonso Pueblo pottery making from his aunt, renowned potter Rose Gonzales. San Idelfonso is known for it's black on black pottery, but Sanchez has created his own individual style by continually exploring new colors, shapes and designs. Often he embeds native materials such as strands of turquoise or Heishi Shell beads and larger turquoise stones in the clay, or created borders of copper, gold or silver leaf to outline medallions featuring carved figures. An avid outdoorsman and raftsman, he is inspired by scenes in nature. While hiking, he discovered the source for the unique green slips that have become a Sanchez color trademark. Lids shaped like bears and shells are signature motifs as well. His newest works include asymmetrical forms and large traditional water jar shapes. He has also begun building his popular bear forms in larger sizes, an exacting technical challenge.

"My work is always changing, but is rooted in our traditions. I never stray from traditional materials. I play with our time-honored techniques to see what else I can do. People have come to expect the unexpected from me, and many collectors say 'surprise me,' when they ask me to create something for them," says Sanchez.
View available pottery by Russell Sanchez:
The Blue Rain Gallery Podcast is hosted by Leroy Garcia and produced by Leah Garcia. Music by Mozart Gabriel Abeyta.


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