Dyeing and Weaving in the Zapotec Tradition with Jacobo & Maria
  • Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, Mexico
  • 30 hours over 5 days

Dyeing and Weaving in the Zapotec Tradition with Jacobo & Maria

Explore indigenous slow-dyeing and weaving methods using locally sourced natural materials in an artisan village outside Oaxaca with renowned Zapotec master weavers, Jacobo and Maria. The surrounding mountains make for a beautiful backdrop as you dive into a world of bright colors, unique textures, and ancient designs.
  • Breakfast, Lunch


One Guest
USD $1720
Additional guest(s) (max 2)
USD $565

Meet the Artist

Jacobo and Maria are master weavers and dyers in the Zapotec tradition. At the young age of eight, Jacobo learned the art of weaving and making vegetable dyes from his father, Don Emiliano, an extraordinary weaver of wool rugs. He experimented with the dyeing processes to develop vivid and intense colors and used different fibers of wool and silk to achieve finer pieces considered tapestries or "finos." His style was not only influenced by the previous generation of weavers, but also the work of various great painters of Oaxaca such as Santiago Nieto, Francisco Toledo, Rodolfo Morales and Rufino Tamayo.

Using fine threads made of local creole sheep wool, merino wool, alpaca wool, and even silk, gold, and sliver threads, Jacobo creates elaborate, complex designs with a very peculiar and unique texture. What really sets him apart is his tapestry technique. While other craftsmen use 5 threads per inch in the warp of their pieces, Jacobo uses 20, 30 or even 45 threads per inch. Essential to his work is the dyeing of different wools, where he uses everything from flowers to insects to obtain a wide range of colors that gives life to his work. To know Jacobo is to know and appreciate the work of an artist who has worked all his life to generate ecological sustainability and to appreciate his expertise in the many fine pieces he produces.

Jacobo's works have been exhibited in Santa Fe, New Mexico and he often participated with other teachers around the world. His travels inspire extraordinary new works that reflect his culture and his dreams. Although he loves to travel, Jacobo’s knowledge of Teotitlán del Valle, home of his ancestors, and the surrounding areas is unparalleled. Ask him where to get the best mole and he might just point you to one of his sisters!

VAWAA Includes:

  • Harvesting fruits and vegetables like black sapote, marigold flower, mango, lemon, and pericón to make dyes.
  • Learning how to prepare local creole sheep wool, merino wool, and alpaca wool fibers for weaving by carding the wool and spinning it with a wooden spinning wheel.
  • Dyeing fibers with local dye plants like marigold flower, pericón, black sapote and walnut as well as the extract powder of indigo, fustic wood, and insect cochineal. Adjusting proportions to achieve different gradations of color.
  • Washing fibers with the amole plant, a pre hispanic soap.
  • Weaving techniques of familiar Zapotec motifs, understanding thread count per inch.
  • Creating your own small textile piece under the guidance of a master weaver.
  • All tools and materials.
  • Daily homemade breakfast and a traditional lunch with Jacobo's family.

Explore Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

A forty minute drive from Oaxaca City, Teotitlán del Valle is a picturesque town sitting amidst incredible natural beauty. Nestled in a peaceful valley, this Zapotec Village is surrounded by mountains and prehistoric Zapotec archeological sites. These include Monte Alban and Mitla, whose intricate motifs the “Mitla frets” have inspired some of Jacobo’s most beautiful textiles. Some archaeologists think the Mitla frets were in fact inspired by Zapotec textiles - a testament to the ancient origins of Jacobo's craft.

Additional Details

The best times to visit Oaxaca are during the months of March-June and September. Both spring and early fall experience moderate temperatures and fewer tourists.

Guests must be 18 years or older and have some experience in the textile arts. Familiarity with Spanish is helpful. Jacobo speaks Zapotec, the native language of his region as well as Spanish, the native language of his country. He also knows some American English, which he likes to practice with guests.

This VAWAA is available for a longer duration. Please ask when you send your booking request.
Jacobo & Maria's Availability 5 days