Preserving Zapotec Weaving Practices at Peabody Museum of Archaeology nd Ethnology
Preserving Zapotec Weaving Practices
Porfirio Gutiérrez, Zapotec Master Dyer and Textile Artist
The town of Teotitlán Del Valle in the Mexican state of Oaxaca is renowned for its weaving traditions and its importance as a Zapotec cultural center. Porfirio Gutiérrez will examine the rich history of Zapotec weaving from the perspective of its practitioners. He will also discuss his studio’s role in preserving and promoting the use of natural dyes in his community, and abroad, using pigments derived from plants and insects.
Porfirio Gutiérrez was born and raised in the Zapotec textile community of Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, Mexico where he began to weave when he was 12 years old. His early training in traditional Zapotec designs forms the foundation for his fine art textiles that are now in demand by museums and private collectors. The story of his art has been told in publications such as the New York Times and videos broadcast on PBS, as well as a documentary funded by the Smithsonian Institution. In 2015 Gutiérrez was selected by the Smithsonian Institution to be one of only four artists in the Western hemisphere to participate in their prestigious Artist Leadership Program. A selection of the Gutiérrez family dye materials was documented and added to the Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection, the world-renowned archive of artist materials. His vision is to educate and share the rich textile arts of his culture while sustaining traditional practices for future generations.