Cochineal dyeing in the Zapotec tradition with Porfirio Gutiérrez

by GIZ FABRIC last modified 2022-08-12T10:34:19+07:00
Join Maestro Porfirio Gutiérrez for a 2-day, hands-on workshop on the history and use of cochineal in its cultural context
  • When Aug 21, 2022 12:00 AM to Aug 22, 2022 06:00 AM (Asia/Bangkok / UTC700)
  • Where Point Reyes Station
  • Attendees Maestro Porfirio Gutiérrez, Natural Dyer and Textile Artist
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Natural materials have been used to produce dyes and colorants throughout much of human history. The cochineal insect is one of the oldest pigments used in Mexico and its red color was an important symbolic element associated with the gods, sun, blood, and rituals. Cochineal was used as medicine as well as to decorate buildings, murals, codices, and the human body itself. Its value as a commodity was equal to its value culturally and symbolically.

Join internationally renowned natural dyer and textile artist Maestro Porfirio Gutiérrez to learn about the rich history of the Zapotec natural dyeing technique in its cultural context, and to explore and learn the principles of this lost art in a 2-day workshop.

We will explore the science and chemistry of cochineal insects and how this relates to pH and color shifting. We will learn to mordant yarns and create secondary hues by over dyeing. Maestro Porfirio will teach of his spiritual understanding of the color red, nature and its relation to traditional medicine, healing, and ceremonies. He will expand on the sacred red colors used in his community procession, and his journey on revitalizing the ancestral Zapotec natural dyeing technique to create over 200 different color hues, all from nature.

The class is limited to 15 students, and will take place at the beautiful Fibershed Learning Center on Black Mountain Ranch near Point Reyes Station, CA. (Address provided upon registration.)

Two days of intensive study with Porfirio, 6 hours per session, which will include:

  • Information about the history of natural dyes and what has been lost
  • Demonstration of techniques
  • Preparation of yarns
  • Dyeing the first shade of colors
  • Over-dyeing to obtain 4 shades of red
  • Discussion of mordenting and materials
  • Discussion of proper washing techniques
  • Responses to student questions

Students will be taking home yarn samples in 4 shades of cochineal.

Please bring your own lunch, snacks, and beverages (water bottle/travel mug). Lunch is not provided. Please wear comfortable clothes that can get stained.

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Fibershed Scholarship Program

Fibershed is offering two scholarships to most workshops; one scholarship if it’s a small class. If you would not otherwise be able to attend, and would like to be considered as a scholarship recipient, please answer a few brief questions on this Google Form. Responses will be reviewed by Learning Center staff and kept strictly confidential.

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Textiles Trunk Show & Presentation

There will also be a trunk show of the weavings of Porfirio Gutiérrez on August 20th from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, with a 45-minute presentation at 6:30 pm on Zapotec textiles having a seasonal imprint and being a historical document, holding both climate and culture. This event is open to the public free of charge.

More information here: