In 1990, Tom Bloom traveled in an old Saab from California to Mexico, where he was swept away by the beauty of the country and the bold, colourful and strange aesthetics of the arts and craftsmanship there. He abandoned a career in academia and returned a year later to establish Milagros.
Tom has traveled extensively through Mexico and has clocked up thousand of miles on numerous journeys. In 2006, Tom, his partner Juliette and their young family spent six months in Mexico. Tom has acquired a thorough knowledge and understanding of the country and the culture. He has an ability to find the remotest villages, has a good eye and is fluent in Spanish.
Mexico is a vast and beautiful country. It straddles the Americas like a bridge, and rises steeply from sea level to form the Alto Plano, its highest point being an extinct volcano: the snow-capped Pico de Orizbo just outside Mexico City. It is a high plateau, which has been twisted, lifted, and folded again and again by geological forces, leaving thousands of mountains. Mexico has a latitude similar to Mali, but it’s the altitude that makes the summer bearable; the evenings and mornings cool. It is a country of deserts, volcanoes, green pine forests, two oceans and one sea. It has one percent of the world’s land mass and 10% of the world’s flora and fauna – crocodiles, whales, toucans, parrots, and armadillos.
Mexico has managed to keep a strong identity and culture. It is an embodiment of the familiar and unfamiliar, the European and the indigenous American. It is both pre- and post-industrial. People have maintained a way of life there that would not be unfamiliar to those living 2,000 years ago: farming small plots of land with oxen, keeping goats and hens; supplementing their income with artisanal activities such as ceramics, weaving, and carving.
Milagros works directly with individual makers and workshops to create quality handmade products, combining traditional techniques with contemporary design. All our products are sourced in Mexico, and we have been working with some of our main suppliers for over twenty years. We try to conduct our business in a mutually beneficial way to give our makers a reasonable income, and to provide our customers with unique, handmade products at a fair price.
Beside offering individual products, we have supplied Wahaca and Soho House restaurants with their mouth-blown glassware, and provided tiles for Las Iguanas in Westfield Stratford and Jamie’s Italian in Islington and St Albans. We also supply Philippe Starck-designed baskets to Mama Shelter Hotels.