4-Day (In Person!) Medicinal Dye Plant Workshop With Porfirio Gutíerrez, April 6-9 (SOLD OUT) or 20-23 (9 SPOTS OPEN), 2022




Join Zapotec textile artist, natural dyer, researcher, educator Maestro Porfirio Gutíerrez for a 4-day (in person!) Medicinal Dye Plant Workshop in his beautiful Ventura, California studio. This will be an experience only 14 people will have the honor to be part of.

$875 (does not include transportation or lodging)

In this workshop we are going to look into three elements that are used for medicine and for dyes; Yashi, cochineal insects and pericon. You are going to learn the science and chemistry of these elements to create various colors and learn about their medicinal properties. You are also going to learn to mordant and create first and secondary colors. Maestro Porfirio will also take us on a journey in the river to collect healing plants and will share his deep spiritual understanding in regard to the colors, plants, medicinal qualities, as well as the important role of river and water in traditional healing.

The highlight of this workshop will be receiving a healing session from Maestro Porfirio’s mother Señora Andrea. After our walk to the river to collect Yashi plants, we will finish our workshop with a traditional meal around a special conversation with Señora Andrea about her healing practice.

Natural materials have been used to produce colorants and for medicine throughout much of human history. Cochineal insects and Kuang Xiby are among the oldest used in Oaxaca, Mexico and some of their colors were an important symbolic element associated with the gods, sun, blood, and rituals. The medicinal properties of these elements were used to treat anxiety, wounds and various heart problems. In a cultural context there is a deep relationship between plants for colors, and medicine.

This subject is Maestro Porfirio Gutíerrez’s particular passion and he has a vast store of knowledge on the provenance, usage, and application especially as color.


-Four days of intensive study with Porfirio, 6 hours per session. We are offering the same workshop over two different weeks.  The first is April 6-9 and the second is April 20-23.
-Learn to create 6 colors on wool yarn
-Gain a better understanding of how to mordant fibers
-Learn to overdye fibers to create new and exciting blends of color
-Take home a set of sample skeins and a yarn sample card
-Experience a healing session at the local river by Andrea, second generation healer and Maestro Porfirio’s mother
-Learn about the history of traditional medicine in Porfirio’s family
-Take a walk to collect the medicine plants in the river
-Our last day we will finish with a traditional meal made with family recipes.

Please bring a change of clothes for the healing session. This can be shorts and t-shirt, or, if you are comfortable you can wear a bathing suit. The session will involve pouring water over each one of us from head to toe and having a medicinal plant rubbed on your body. You read that right.  Oh, and don’t forget a towel.


  • This is a fairly physical workshop with walking to the river, gathering and foraging.  Please contact us if you have accessibility questions.
  • We will provide travel information and other details upon registration
  • All sales final with the workshop.  We are not able to refund your registration.
  • This is a non-vegan workshop and we are unable to offer vegan options or substitutions
  • We’re still in a pandemic and we will follow the latest guidance from the State of California and the CDC.


We are pleased to offer a partial scholarship to attend this workshop and one will be awarded per session.  This scholarship seeks to widen the representation of students from diverse backgrounds to experience learning from master artists, so we invite BIPOC textile artists to apply.  If you are interested, please fill out this form.  We will award the scholarships in early February.


Porfirio Gutíerrez is known internationally for his exceptional devotion to the textile traditions of his home pueblo of Teotitlán del Valle, Oaxaca, a richly historic Zapotec textile artist community. His mission has been reinvigorating and preserving natural dyeing techniques for future generations and his work brings awareness to a profound spiritual belief that nature is a living being, sacred and honored. Porfirio will share his journey on revitalizing the ancestral Zapotec natural dyeing technique to create over 200 different color hues all from nature.

Growing up with the various plants, roots, and techniques of healing by his mother Andrea, (a second generation healer), his understanding of plants is as important for color as is for healing or food. His practice forms a cultural context as a direct descendent of the Zapotec civilization. Gutierrez is the leading artist in the revitalization and recognition of the lost Zapotec ancestral natural dyeing techniques.

His work has been exhibited internationally and is in the collection of the National Museum of American Indian Smithsonian Institution, Fomento Cultural Banamex, the Museo Nacional de Culturas Populares, and Arizona State Museum. A selection of the Gutiérrez dye materials has also been documented and added to Harvard Art Museums’ Forbes Pigment Collection, the world-renowned archive of artist materials. He has lectured for major institutions around the world and has given workshops to Harvard University students as part of the university’s summer institute for technical studies and other institutions that have a deep appreciation for natural dyes. The story of his work has been told in The New Times, BBC London, UK and in Vogue Magazine.


Additional information

Choose a session

Session 1 April 6-9, Session 2 April 20-23


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