Cochineal the Zapotec Way: 2-Day online workshop with Porfirio Gutierrez September 18-19
Join us for a unique learning experience with Porfirio Gutierrez, master dyer and weaver from Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico. Porfirio will be teaching us about cochineal, a natural dye indigenous to Central America, and the color called “A Perfect Red” by Spanish colonizers, who used cochineal to expand their empire. This dye, which comes from a scale insect that feasts on the nopal cactus has been prized for centuries and is an important color in Zapotec culture. We will learn the Zapotec methods for preparing the dye and creating a rich red by through Porfirio’s overdye process as well as how cochineal is used in ceremony and ritual.
Over two days, Porfirio will show participants how to prepare the dye samples on skeins of wool yarn. Each person will follow along at home, and will receive a package of wool yarn and dyes prior to class. Participants will come away with enough knowledge to create and dye with cochineal, and have a deeper understanding of how important cochineal is to the Zapotec weaving tradition. There will be enough yarn to make a small project and plenty of cochineal dye for future experiments.
The workshop is open to all skill levels. We will provide pre-mordanted yarn and dyes shipped prior to the class session. The class will run for 3 hours per day over two days. Class times are 11AM-2PM Pacific Time.
Porfirio would like to encourage Spanish speakers to join him, and will provide bilingual translation from English to Spanish if needed.
We will be using wool yarn and cochineal is an insect dye. We regret that we will be unable to provide vegan substitutions for this course.
The workshop includes
- Two days online intensive study with Porfirio, 3 hours per session
- The workshop includes a class moderator/Teaching Assistant
- Cochineal and prepared wool yarns will be shipped to participants.
- Porfirio will share information about his family and their multi-generational weaving tradition.
- Porfirio will demonstrate techniques and answer questions during the Zoom session.
- Porfirio will teach the class primarily in English, but Spanish speakers are encouraged to join us and he is happy to translate into Spanish during the class.
A complete materials list will be sent to you upon registration and includes the following:
- Dye pot large enough to hold 4-20 quarts of water
- Heat source: hot plate or burner
- Long Handled Stirring Spoon or sturdy stick
- Gloves to protect hands from heat
- Mortar and Pestle (heavy 5-7 inch/13-18 centimeters)
- Kitchen Scale that weighs in grams
- Paper towels
- String to tie skein loops, or use dye rings
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 2 clean 5 gallon (20 liter) buckets with lids
- 4 large, juicy lemons
- Cheesecloth or other method to strain the finely ground cochineal into the dye pot
We recognize that our lives have been severely disrupted by Covid-19 and that this class may be a financial strain for marginalized artists, including Indigenous, LatinX, Black, and other POC. We are offering a limited number of partial scholarships (50%) to join these classes. If you are interested, please email [email protected] to apply.
All sales are final. This workshop is non-cancellable and non-refundable.
Many thanks to our friends at Cattywampus Crafts in Ojai for their generous support of this workshop!
Botanical Colors reserves the right to cancel classes in the unlikely event of circumstances beyond our control. So if a class is cancelled, Botanical Colors’ responsibility and liability are limited to a refund of class fees. In addition, we will send you a check within 30 days of cancellation.