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During the 2013 Taos Wool Festival, noted master Zapotec weaver, Florentino Gutierrez, will be giving a weaving demonstration showing the traditional way of the centuries old Zapotec Indian weaving technique on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5-6. Starr Interiors will be hosting the special event in their historic courtyard at 117 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, two doors south of the Taos Inn.
Gutierrez’s wife Eloisa, also a weaver, will be preparing and serving traditional Oaxacan hot chocolate, a blend of hand ground chocolate, cinnamon and sugar, beat to a frothy mixture and traditionally served at all important Zapotec and Oaxaca events.
Gutierrez is one of a new generation of Zapotec master weavers who has mastered the use of aniline dyes to make some of the most stunning colors ever seen in Zapotec weavings. Many of his works are geometric variations of the saltillo diamond and mitla fret designs. His reverence for traditional design while using his own modern color and form makes this weaver’s works important and unique, honoring his indigenous heritage while creating a vital new look. This demonstration is a special opportunity for all to watch and learn from a master weaver at work.
Gutierrez’s story is a living example of how cultures can be mutually enriched by the exchange of an art form. In this case one that has sustained the Zapotec weaving village for generations. The history of the Zapotec Indians goes back many thousands of years, with existing evidence of their culture in the archeological sites of famed Monte Alban, built high on a mountain top overlooking the present day city of Oaxaca, and the stunning and well preserved temples at nearby village of Mitla.
In these places, as well as in many of the other Zapotec villages, including the weaving village, parts of the original temple walls of the previous ancient cultures can be seen, showing their advanced geometric designs that are inspiration for the rugs being woven today.
As a young law student, Guiterrez decided not to continue for an advanced degree, but to work on the loom where he had been producing outstanding examples of pre-columbian designs as well as intricate geometric designs.
He employs a staff of weavers and personally overlooks every step of the process, from the procuring of the wool yarn used in his weavings, through the dye making of his own distinct color palette, to the final work on the looms.