Paz en el Mundo

Examples of milagros from Mexico

[View Small Milagros] [View Large Milagros]


In 2002, troubled by the increasingly fearful and dark tenor of the world, I began this series dedicated to hope. My process involves photographing people’s arms and asking them to write down their wish for a miracle or positive change in the world or in their life. I then create collages from these images and texts and title them with a phrase from the handwritten wish. The completed pieces serve as visual affirmations, emboldening these wishes for positive change.

This series was inspired by milagros (literally "miracles" in Spanish) -- small metal talismans often sold outside of churches in places like Mexico. They come in myriad shapes – arms, legs, hands, hearts, cars, babies, and many more. A person would select the milagro that symbolically resonated with his or her wish for a miracle, and then put that intention into that object and hang it in a special spot in the back of the church. Arms and hands are the focus of my series, because it is with our arms and hands that we build tangible results in the world.

Most of my pieces are made to scale with the actual milagros sold in Mexico and are quite small (4-1/2 x 3-1/2” framed). I prefer installing them in groups in a random arrangement which emulates the way actual milagros would be hung in the back of a church.

In addition, I have created several very large pieces. At 28 inches long, these collages render the arms photographed larger than life, articulating how miracles themselves are larger than everyday experience and require an expanded sense of the possible.

Technical Notes

All of the collages in Milagros are made using transparent photographic imagery and layers of additional materials such as maps, handwriting, sheet music, pins and other items. For the small Milagros, the transparencies were created using Kodalith (positive transparency film) printed in the darkroom. They are framed in wooden shadow boxes that measure 4-1/2 x 3-1/2 inches. The transparencies for the large Milagros were created with an Epson inkjet printer with archival inks at Trillium Press. These collages are housed in black, hinged shadow box frames that measure 36 x 18 inches.


Each of the small Milagros is unique and sells for $195.

The large Milagros are created in editions of three and range in price from $1600 to $1900.

For further inquiries, please email

Milagros installed at Modern Book Gallery in 2005

[View Small Milagros] [View Large Milagros]

^return to top
home | about the artist | gallery | resources | sitemap | contact

©2005 Mary Daniel Hobson. All rights reserved.