SchoolArts Room

Making Milagros in Santa Fe

By Nancy Walkup, posted on Jul 22, 2010

One of the hands-on activities in our first SchoolArts Ghost Ranch in Santa Fe workshop of the summer, Folk Art Traditions and Beyond, was making milagros.

Milagros ("miracles" in Spanish) are small votive objects traditionally used in many countries in Latin America to describe small metal images of eyes, hands, legs, praying figures or other objects of symbolic meaning. Made of silver, tin, or mixed cast metal, milagros function as votive offerings through which the prayerful may offer petitions or thanks.




I first learned of these many years ago through the wall of milagros from all over the world at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe. In storage for some time, they have been returned to exhibition where they are now the first display one sees on entering the museum.
We used precut squares of aluminum tooling (sold in art supply catalogs) and different kinds of tools to create textures. Color could be added with permanent markers if desired. You can download my clay or metal milagros lesson plan and a PowerPoint presentation to use with your students. I have used this lesson with students as young as third grade.