Humans have used symbolic offerings to seek assistance from and to give thanks to gods and spirits since prehistoric times. The catholic faithful everywhere petition saints… through prayer and offerings requesting them to intercede with god to help them with their lives of give thanks for assistance already granted. The catholic faithful have made three kinds of such offerings, including (1) objects that relate to a disease or disability; (2) paintings or photographs that illustrate an illness, injury, or mishap; and (3) small sculptures or reliefs, Milagros (the Spanish word for miracles), which symbolize an afflicted person or body part.
During my review last quarter the idea of ex-votos was briefly mentioned. I decided to look into it and have found that the ideas of ex-votos/ milagros fits nicely into my work with purgatory. I have decided to make personal ex-votos that will elevate small found objects through exquisitely lush beading. The pieces will each be in the shape of a heart. This traditional milagro shape will symbolize my personal wish for healing. I would like my heart to heal after my recent losses and am looking to the milagro form to help me attempt this feat. In the form of a milagro I’m letting the responsibility out of my hands and giving it to a higher power. Through the tedious bead work I’m putting hours of love, thought and hope into ,each piece. On the backs in laser cut leather are the conclusions to letters stating “love always, your friend, or love you.” these conclusions are to me very important they connect to the letters also in my current work but say something more as well, that even in concluding we offer love.
Langham, Thomas. “Answered Prayers: Miracles and Miagros along the Boarder by Eileen Oktavec.” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 36.2 (1997): 326 328. Print