Inspired by: Ex Voto Hearts


I do a lot of internet surfing.  I really like looking at E-Bay to see what’s for casabonam_1813_4470183sale.  I also collect images.  At first, I started collecting Mexican tin ornaments in the shape of hearts.  I had the images sorted according to what sort of ornamentation they had on them, and whether or not they were painted.  I then used them for inspiration for my Milagros line at CafePress.  I drew large copies of the hearts, then scanned them into my computer, where I worked on them in PhotoShop.  I loved the simplicity of the designs and they way they adapted well to my “digital quilting” style.

Later, as I refined my searches, I was able to find more intricate designs in heart ex votos.  An ex voto is an offering left at a church in gratitude or devotion.  These are often confused (interchangeable?) with milagros, with are charms made of metal or sometimes wood.  I collect the heart kinds, which seem to made in Peru mainly.  The Italian ex voto hearts are usually of the same style, with a traditional filigree surrounding the heart.  I find those less interesting than the Peruvian ex votos.

2e10_1I have lately done two collage pieces using these heart designs as models.  I construct templates to cut out the parts of the heart design, and place the heart on a background.  One example is my Montgolfier Milagro (in the background are hot air balloons, which were invented by the Montgolfier Brothers in France).  I will photograph and display the more recent one soon.

I have to say that I have loved hearts since I first saw Peter Max’s work.  I will qualify that I am pretty picky about my hearts, however.  I do not like the basic “country” heart.  I have to have some visual interest going there.  This is why I love the milagro hearts.  They are more ornate and original.

I cannot forget that my first designs I put up on CafePress were also based on hearts – My Valentines were black and white collages that I then colored.  I used to make valentines for family and friends with doilies and funky paper or cut outs from magazines.  Wow!  Me and hearts go back a long way!


3 responses »

  1. Hi there – I don’t sell actual milagros. I base a lot of my designs on them. Go to EBay and put in the search terms “ex voto heart” or “heart milagro” to find sellers who deal in them. If you are interested in my designs, click on the link to my website, then go to CafePress so see my Milagros. Thanks.

  2. I am a jewelry artist in US trying to make professional contact with fair trade artisans/small manufacturers working in pressed silver/tin “sacred hearts!” Sizes up to 4″

    …am having a hard time getting anything other than the usual US traders.

    I am currently purchasing piece meal from Peru. Am interested in purchasing small lots so I can expand my wonderful “Milagro line of designs” I love milagros and have been making jewelry out of them for 30 years!

    I really want to find the people who actually make them so I can have a more reliable supply!

    Can you point me in the right direction? They don’t have to be antique. New is fine, I have found ways to work with new finishes too!


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