The Mexican master weaver, Porfirio Gutiérrez, has launched an online shop for the first time. Explaining his decision in an Instagram post, he said: “Our community and so many other communities in Oaxaca earn our living thanks to tourism, and as artisans, as you can imagine there is not one tourist in Oaxaca right now. In my community, almost all of us earn our living from weaving and without these opportunities, so many are already losing their jobs. I’m deeply concerned for my team, and other people who benefit from each piece of weaving we sell. They are all solely dependent on that income and have no way to obtain government help.”
Image: Tradition, Porfirio Gutiérrez. All images via Porfirio Gutiérrez
“Facing these changes I decided for the first time to offer our pieces on my online store and over the coming days, I am going to post a few pieces and share how I came to design them, explain where the colors are from, symbolism and how this piece was made. I was hesitant to offer my pieces on an online store or on my social media but for now, these are the only ways that I’m able to connect with you to continue sharing my passion and hoping to keep our tradition alive.”
The Porfirio Gutiérrez studio is a family of Zapotec textile artists using traditional natural dyes, continuing a process that has used for more than 2,500 years. This process is endangered due to the widespread use of chemical dyes and mass production weaving. Their mission is to preserve and uplift historically significant natural dye practices through education, raising awareness of their importance to their art form and our natural environment.
Porfirio and his family are teaching their Zapotec traditions to a new generation of weavers in their home town of Teotitlán del Valle in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico. This video from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian features a four-day workshop on natural dyes given to the community.
For more information visit www.porfiriogutierrez.com