THE ARTISTS

Porfirio Gutiérrez and his family are masters of traditional Zapotec weaving and the creative skills associated with their fine art. They have descended from centuries of weavers and have no reason to doubt that their ancestors were weaving in pre-Columbian times. Their village, Teotitlán del Valle in Oaxaca, has been famous for the art of weaving for centuries. Nearby ruins that date back as far as 500 BC still stand decorated with the same patterns and symbols that are used in today's designs.


MISSION STATEMENT

OUR FAMILY

MODERN CHALLENGES

EXHIBITIONS, LECTURES, PRESS

FAMILIA GUTIÉRREZ - AREAS OF EXPERTISE
MISSION STATEMENT

We are a family of Zapotec weavers practicing an art form as our ancestors have done for over 2500 years. Today we are on the verge of losing this ancient art forever due to changes in technology, the economy, and relative isolation. It is our mission to preserve our traditional art form through educating, demonstrating and reaching out to the world beyond Teotitlán del Valle. We invite you to learn through us and come to appreciate a beautiful, sustainable, and historically significant art form that is very much worth preserving.




OUR FAMILY

Family life has always revolved around the looms, the central courtyard where we spin and dye the yarn, and the family dinner table where we come together at the end of the day and have conversations about our work. Almost always, one can hear the gentle rhythmic sounds of the looms.

Porfirio recalls, "As kids we would play around my father's big loom and watch as a new design would emerge. He would tell us about the symbols he was weaving and our Zapotec heritage. Every piece tells us a story through these elements and weaving each piece is like a meditation. These symbols are as old as our civilization. We can see them on Zapotec archeological sites, the stones in our church walls, and the nearby ruins at Monte Albán and Mitla. We have inherited our skills and artistic sensibilities from our ancestors who lived in the ancient Zapotec cities."

"We could not be more proud of the art we create nor more content with our way of life as artists. Each piece is unique and one of a kind, done with honesty and integrity using traditional methods that are natural and sustainable. Our sense of design and color have been honed to a very high level. Our work is in many private collections, galleries, and museum collections, including the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC and the Museum of Ventura County in California. It is very gratifying to make art to this standard."


MODERN CHALLENGES

Serious challenges have arisen in the last couple of decades. Cheap chemical dyes have replaced natural dyes for almost all the weaving families in the village. They no longer know where to collect herbal dye plants or how to imbue their natural colors into the yarn. This skill is not being passed on to the younger generations.

It is Porfirio's passionate goal to preserve the family's traditional art and inherited Zapotec weaving techniques. The hope is that the centuries of their rich Zapotec culture is also their legacy to their descendants because it defines them as a family. But it has been increasingly difficult to sustain this goal financially because of a poor economy, a lack of tourism and other factors (see A SAD NEW REALITY).

In an effort to find appreciation for their art and enough financial validation to sustain it, Porfirio has emigrated to the United States where he exhibits, gives educational lectures, weaving & natural dye demonstrations, and hands-on workshops. All proceeds are shared by the family. All genuine weavings made by our family have a letter of authenticity than includes a list of natural dyes used in each piece and how to care for natural dye weavings. It also has simple tests for detecting natural dyes and chemical dyes.




TO BE ADDED TO OUR MAILING LIST:
To be made aware of exhibitions, demonstrations, workshops, and speaking engagements, please email us and ask to have your name added to our events mailing list.
EXHIBITIONS, LECTURES, PRESS

Porfirio has exhibited, lectured, and given demonstrations on Zapotec culture, natural plant dyes, traditional weaving and other subjects related to his art. He also acts as an advocate, educator and cultural ambassador. Through the art of weaving, he has promoted respect for his culture and the empowerment of his family and their community. In today's changing social and economic environment, his goal is to help ensure the continued survival of Zapotec culture. He has been invited on many occasions to represent the Zapotec people and his native Mexican culture and arts. Credits are listed below.


EXHIBITIONS:
2016
Cycle of Life
(North America's premier showcase for contemporary design)
ICFF, Javits Center, New York City, New York
Santa Fe International Folk Art Market - Innovation Inspiration
Exhibited work, lectured, gave a natural dye workshop, and mentored other artists
Museum Hill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
International Master Artisan Gallery
International Contemporary Furniture Fair
(juried show for contemporary artisanal design)
New York City, New York
2016
Contemporary Art of Shibori and Ikat
10th International Shibori Symposium and Exhibition
Centro de las Artes, San Agustín, Oaxaca, México
Inter Woven
The Fabrics of Art, Life, & Tradition Across Continents
Art Space Gallery, Fresno City College
Fresno, California
Art and Spirit
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Manos y Alma de Oaxaca 
Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares 
Mexico City, Mexico
Tierra de Dioses Inmortales
Casa de la Cultura 
Puebla, Mexico
 
2015
Intercontinental Biennial of Indigenous Art 
World Award for the most outstanding traditional art and culture. This exhibit will travel and be shown in London, Egypt, USA, Norway, Denmark, and Canada (2015 through 2017). For more info, visit:
http://www.bienaldearteindigena.com
2014
El Camino del Sol
Centro Cultural Itchimbia, Quito, Ecuador
2013
Intercontinental Biennial of Indigenous Art
Spence Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Earth Tones
WAV (Working Artists Ventura), Ventura, California
Santa Fe International Folk Art Market
Museum Hill, Santa Fe, New Mexico
2012
National Museum of the American Indian
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Threads of Life (Hilos de la Vida)
Museum of Ventura County, Ventura, California
From Folk Art to Fine Art
Arizona Latino Arts and Cultural Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Bienal de Artes Indigenas Contemporaneo
Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, Mexico City
La Magia del Tejido / The Magic of Weaving
Mexican Consulate, Oxnard, California
2011
Masters of Mexican Folk Art
Maloof Foundation for Arts and Crafts, Alta Loma, California
Weaving Traditions
Casa Dolores, Center for the Study of the Popular Arts of Mexico, Santa Barbara, California
2010
American Indian Arts Marketplace
Autry National Center, Los Angeles, California
Zapotec Weavings
Santa Barbara Arts Gallery, Santa Barbara, California
2009
Common Threads
Hillcrest Center for the Arts, Thousand Oaks, California
LECTURES:
Innovation Within Traditional Folk Art
De Young Museum, San Francisco, California
Bring It Home
Artists Reconnecting Cultural Heritage with Community Panel discussion with artists in the National Museum of the American Indian’s Artist Leadership Program, Washington DC
Traditional Art in a Modern World
Bowers Museum, Santa Ana, California
Focus on the Masters Artist Spotlight: "A Conversation with Porfirio Gutiérrez"
Lecture, oral history, and video documentation of Porfirio's work, Oxnard, California
Preserving the Weaving Traditions of Zapotec Artisans
University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California
Ancient Natural Dyeing Methods in Teotitlán del Valle
Ventura Museum, Ventura, California
The Ancient Art of Zapotec Weaving
California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, California
Identifying Chemical Dyes in Zapotec Weavings
Friends of Mexican Art, Phoenix, Arizona
The Past and Present of Zapotec Weaving
Lecture at the Amerind Museum, Dragoon Arizona
Native Zapotec Weaving and Designs
Santa Barbara City College, Santa Barbara, California
Natural Plant Dyes in Oaxaca Mexico
Santa Barbara Fiber Arts Guild, Santa Barbara, California
AWARDS, PRESS, AND ACCOLADES:
"Ka Duu" (Colored Threads)
video documentary by the Smithsonian Institute
Artist in Residence June through August 2017
Cam Gallery, Carnegie Art Museum, Oxnard, California
Contributor to the Forbes Pigment Collection
Straus Center, Fogg Museum, Harvard University
Cambridge, Massachussetts
Wikipedia
Nominated and accepted by Wikipedia online encyclopedia
(Porfirio Gutiérrez, Weaver)
No Queria Ser un Artesano Mas
El Universal (newspaper article)
"Ancient Weaving"
PBS (video)
Artist Leadership Program for 2016
National Museum of the American Indian Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
Tejedor de Sueños
Univision (video)
The Weaver from the Place of God
video by Flint Magazine (on Flint website)
Un Artista de hilo muestra las Tradiciones Milenarias de Oaxaca al Mundo
Estrella TV (video)
The Weaver from the Place of God
Flint Magazine
Un Artista del Hilo Muestra las Tradiciones de Oaxaca al Mundo
La opinion
De Oaxaca al Smithsonian
Fahrenheit Magazine (article)
Honorable Mention
Bienal de Artes Indigenas Contemporáneas
Consejo Nacional para La Cultura y Las Artes, Mexico City
Where The Goods Are Brought In
Smithsonian Institution Magazine (article)
Artista Indígena Mexicano Convierte Tejidos en Reconcidas Piezas de Arte
Agencia EFE
"Tapestry of Tradition"
Ventura County Star (newspaper article)
“Artista de Hilo Muestra las tradiciones Milenarias de Oaxaca al Mundo”
Estrella TV (video)
"The Work of Art: Folk Artists in The 21st Century"
by Carmella Padilla
Artistic Touch
Ventura County Star (newspaper article)
Weaving A Future in Teotitlán, Oaxaca
Hand/Eye Magazine (article)
Weaving Magic
Green Home Magazine (article)
FAMILIA GUTIÉRREZ
The Gutiérrez family members and their roles in creating their traditional Zapotec weavings. Names with an asterisk* are in videos and photos on this website.

Porfirio Gutiérrez designs, weaves, promotes, educates, demonstrates
Amado Gutiérrez* father weaves
Andrea Contreras* mother cleans wool, spins yarn
Juana Gutiérrez Contreras* sister cleans wool, spins yarn, gathers herbs, master of natural dyes
Petrona Gutiérrez Contreras sister weaves
Holga Gutiérrez Contreras* sister weaves, cleans wool, spins yarn
Antoño Lazo Hernandez* brother-in-law weaves, cleans wool, spins yarn, gathers herbs, dyes
Javier Lazo Gutiérrez* nephew weaves, designs, dyes
Ofelia Lazo Gutiérrez* niece weaves
HOMETHE CULTURE • THE ARTISTS • THE PROCESSTHE GALLERYCONTACT USEVENTS VIDEOS
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