On a trip to Mexico a couple years ago, I fell in love with the folk art winged hearts (corazon) for sale almost everywhere. They came in all sizes, shapes and colors, and all were handmade – or at least appeared handmade.
They are made of wood, decorated with metal figures know as milagros. It’s an old religious tradition, giving thanks for the gifts of the heavens.
Milagros, meaning “miracle” in Spanish, are religious folk charms traditionally used for healing purposes and as votive offerings. They’re ofen attached to altars, shrines, and sacred objects in places of worship, and are purchased in churches, cathedrals, or from street vendors. Milagros can also be carried for protection and good luck. They are made in shapes representing body parts, animals and other objects.
Once I decided I wanted my own winged milagros corazon, I said those words my wife hates the most, “I can make that.” So I bought a small bag of milagros from a street vendor.
Then they sat for three years. That’s how I roll.
But this winter I had a few spare hours here and there, and my friend Ken Root offered up a heart – in the form a a chunk of cedar. Check out the sculpture my wife commissioned from Ken for my 50th birthday, here.
I then added to my pile of supplies some leftover copper from my Coral Bell fountain made a few years back. I aged the copper wings with a mixture of ammonia, vinegar, and salt.
I then had no excuses to not make it. I already had the red paint, so the total cost of my heart is the cost of a bag of charms, about $20.
Now that it’s done, I just have to find the perfect place to hang it outdoors. I’ll probably bring it in for the winter.