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  • Angel by Maria Jimenez

    Wisdom from Howard Zinn

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    Angel by Maria Jimenez

    A belated Happy New Year to you all! We hope you have enjoyed restful and relaxing festive periods and that the new decade has wonderful things in store.

    2019 was an important year for us. We marked thirty years since Tom’s first trip to Mexico and the inception of the Milagros adventure. In January of that year, our collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum came to an end, for their exhibition Friday Kahlo: Making Her Self Up (we helped supply the exhibition giftshop; you might recognise some of our tinwork).

    We continued to sell our range of Philippe Starck-designed baskets, commissioned for Mama Shelter hotels, and welcomed the newest Mama Shelter (on Hackney Road) to the neighbourhood. We also collaborated with Kew Gardens, providing them with recycled glassware for their Dave Chihuly exhibition.

    In the autumn, we celebrated Shoreditch Design Triangle by showcasing the work of La Muerte Tiene Permiso, a modern design studio based in Mexico and Europe, and we welcomed them with a pop-up mezcaleria organised in partnership with the delectable Sin Gusano. Later months brought the cold, and of course, The Day of the Dead, which we marked with the help of our neighbours and friends on Columbia Rd and Ezra Street. When the time came to try and best each other on our Christmas windows, we handed ours over to the mother-daughter duo of Chulita Design so they could make a winter wonderland of Harlequin taxidermy, dotted about with the odd alebrije. Then we rounded everything off with the most well-attended run of Christmas Wednesdays we’ve ever had in our twelve years on Columbia Road. Thank you for coming to fill the street with your song and good cheer, and thank for always for stopping by to say hello.

    Our hopes for this year are to increase the number of collaborations we have between Mexican and UK artists, especially ceramicists, with a particular focus on our glassware, tiles, and baskets. So if you have any tips for who you’d like to see us working with, please send them our way! We’re also pleased to say we can now offer custom tinwork.

    We leave you with all our best wishes for the coming year, and these words of wisdom from Howard Zinn:

    “To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasise in this complex history will determine our lives… The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvellous victory.”

  • red heart with doves

    August 2020 – Tin makers

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    tin decorations hand made in mexico.

    Tinwork is one of the most popular products we sell at Milagros, and it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Now, in the times of coronavirus, many of our tin workshops have been forced to close, with no government support. Bulk orders like our own have really helped them to stay afloat in these times, and we all really appreciate each and every one of your purchases. Our aim has always been to support small businesses in Mexico, but at no other time in our thirty years of work has that mission felt more pressing. So thank you all so much! Plus, because tin is light and most of our tinwork is flat, it’s perfectly suited to being shipped and online orders

    horizontal nido mirror hand made in Mexico

    Tinwork has a proud history in Mexico. In the 1930s, it formed a big part of the craze for Mexicanidad, which we’ve mentioned before in previous newsletters. Tinwork inspired by folk art became a collector’s item, and was avidly sought out by intellectuals and artists alike. It became the preserve of artisans wanting to make more affordable versions of silver or other expensive items, and this is the case with our larger tin mirrors, which copy colonial-era Spanish designs, but in the lighter, cheerier material of tin (this is the case with our El Nido mirrors, which feature two birds in a nest at the top of the frame: a good gift for lovebirds making a home together!).

    Most Mexican tinwork is now made in the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Jalisco and Oaxaca in small family-run workshops. We currently buy and commission work from  such workshops in the states of Guanajuato and Oaxaca. This tinwork is initially cut out of flat tin sheets with tin snips, using tin templates as a guide, and then shaped and  adorned by hammering with a range of shaped punches. They are then painted by hand.

    tin hearts from Mexico

    The bulk of our tinwork is made in the workshop of Arturo Sosa Mendoza, who has been working with tin for over 50 years, in the city of Oaxaca. His career began when he was still a schoolboy: after school he went to art school and learnt to draw. He is adept at coming up with new designs and adapting existing ones; many of his designs have been widely copied by other tin workers in Oaxaca.

     

    Our unpainted tin hearts are from the workshop of Miguel Angel Aguero Pacheco, also in the city of Oaxaca, with whom Milagros has worked for over 25 years. The ornate tin mirrors are from the workshop of Tomas Ricardo Santiago Pacheco, whose family have become famous for working in this complex decorative (and very Oaxacan) style.

    red heart with doves

    The nido (nest), fan, and knot mirrors are all made in the workshop of the Trejo family in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. The father of the family (now deceased) began as a silversmith in the 1940s and gradually started making more work in tin. Two of his sons have continued his work.

    And with that, adios and hasta luego!

    Buena salud,

    Milagros

  • armadillo wood creature

    July 2020 Wood Carvers

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    Wooden figures form a less prominent part of what we sell at Milagros, but they embody one of our core beliefs, which is that craft can help to sustain communities and keep them together. One of our most core values at Milagros is to try and support people to stay in their  communities so that they don’t have to succumb to the pressures to separate their families by moving to cities and possibly even migrating – sometimes under dangerous circumstances.

    Jueventino Melchor Mexican wood carving

    The wooden figures that we sell in the shop are mostly sourced from one village outside the city of Oaxaca, Mexico,  San Martin Tilcajete. It is a small settlement, with a population of about two thousand people, but they’ve been a hive of wood-carving activity for decades.

    The late Ventura Fabien

    Interestingly enough, wood-carving is new craft tradition, which first emerged in its current form in the Oaxaca of the 1970s, when an increase in tourism and cruises from the United States brought foreign buyers in search of souvenirs. Mexico has a long and laudable tradition of supporting and championing its craft traditions. This has roots in the post-revolutionary push for “Mexicanidad” in the 1930s: the quest to develop a post-imperial, independent Mexican identity. As part of that tradition, each state has its own Casa de Artisanias (a gallery showcasing the work of local artisans and the area’s specialties), and there is a national association, Fonart (Fondo Nacional para el Fomento de las Artesanías ) dedicated to promoting and protecting craft traditions all over Mexico.

    Historically, San Martin is a community of  subsistence farmers who own small plots of land, tending goats and cows and growing maize. Wood-carving was largely a pastime activity, done to while away the hours when tending grazing livestock, or used in the production of ceremonial masks. More recently, it has become  an activity which has enabled families to earn an income on the side of farming. Today, this remains by and large the case, but with tangible effects: such is the popularity of wood-carving that the villagers are able to build new and better houses, and paved roads!  Families in San Martin have intermarried and often collaborate, sometimes sharing gallery spaces (sheds on the road into town, to pick up tourist custom off the highway), and ideas for designs get shared between generations and in-laws.

    Interestingly enough, wood-carving is new craft tradition, which first emerged in its current form in the Oaxaca of the 1970s, when an increase in tourism and cruises from the United States brought foreign buyers in search of souvenirs. Mexico has a long and laudable tradition of supporting and championing its craft traditions. This has roots in the post-revolutionary push for “Mexicanidad” in the 1930s: the quest to develop a post-imperial, independent Mexican identity. As part of that tradition, each state has its own Casa de Artisanias (a gallery showcasing the work of local artisans and the area’s specialties), and there is a national association, Fonart (Fondo Nacional para el Fomento de las Artesanías ) dedicated to promoting and protecting craft traditions all over Mexico.

    Historically, San Martin is a community of  subsistence farmers who own small plots of land, tending goats and cows and growing maize. Wood-carving was largely a pastime activity, done to while away the hours when tending grazing livestock, or used in the production of ceremonial masks. More recently, it has become  an activity which has enabled families to earn an income on the side of farming. Today, this remains by and large the case, but with tangible effects: such is the popularity of wood-carving that the villagers are able to build new and better houses, and paved roads!  Families in San Martin have intermarried and often collaborate, sometimes sharing gallery spaces (sheds on the road into town, to pick up tourist custom off the highway), and ideas for designs get shared between generations and in-laws.

    Margarita Sosa Mexican wood carver

    As with all things, the aesthetics of the woodcarvings go in trends, and Tom has now been working with the artisans long enough to spot when a design has made its way back around from thirty years ago, most likely seen in a family album from a parent or grandparent. The villagers’ lives and schedules are still governed by the land, with them scheduling their  wood-carving around the growing season. One famous decorator of woodcarvings, Maria Jimenez, stops production entirely to tend to her maize crop, and makes famous tamales from her maize every Sunday.

    Inspiration for the wooden figures themselves comes from many sources, including folk and fairy tales from all over the world,  and Tom prefers the designs which depart from familiar animals and add a whimsical twist, which is where you might see some animal musicians made by Juventino Melchior, the dancing chickens by the late Ventura Fabian, or a cat-owl by the Xuana family. Tom tends to look for pieces that are beautiful examples of craftsmanship without being overwrought, still possessing, in his words, ‘spirit’. All the pieces that we sell are signed by the person who made them.

    “Alebrije” is a catch-all term applied to these fantastical pieces, but it actually originates in Mexico City, with papier-mâché figures made by Pedro Linares, who once had a childhood fever so extreme, he hallucinated all kinds of fantastical creatures, and these fevered dreams provided him with enough inspiration to for a lifetime of work.  Tom’s taste is not for the most outlandish multiheaded-headed extravaganzas that the term “alebrije” tends to denote, however, nor for the products of the more industrial workshop set-ups in Oaxaca. Instead, he has built up his base of artisans in this slightly remote village, making multiple trips over decades, gradually getting to know many of the more talented families of wood carvers. It is only in the last decade or so that he has really been accepted as a serious buyer of this work. He buys from individuals or families working in their homes, where the men typically do the carving and the women the painting, and has had the good fortune of working over time with multiple generations of some families.

     

    Muchos gracias, as ever, and buena salud,

    Milagros

  • paper baskets hand made in mexico.

    May 2020 – Laundry & ironing basket

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    Ironing baskets

     

    Good morning and we hope you are enjoying a good start to the week! Tumbleweeds blow down Columbia Road and we miss you!

    And just a reminder: you can still order on our website and have things shipped from our warehouse in Bristol.

    In the meantime, we thought you might be interested in learning a little more about our coloured baskets.

    We originally began selling baskets in 2006, when Tom saw some he liked in a gallery in San Miguel de Allende, in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato. They were made of polythene and galvanised  wire, in bright colours and stripes, and came in a range of shapes and sizes: wide, handled ironing basketslidded laundry baskets, or very modern, tapered wastepaper baskets. He’d never seen anything like them before in Mexico. Tracing them back to source, he discovered that they were made in the workshop of San Miguel’s prison.

    hand made laundry baskets

    In Mexico, basket-making has been a  prison industry for some time, undertaken by male prisoners to give give themselves a better quality of life while imprisoned, and to help support the families that they have left behind. Often, the families of incarcerated men buy the materials for the baskets, take them into the prisons, and then pick up the finished baskets to then sell back to the people who supplied the materials! (This is how Milagros acquires the somewhat more traditional, woven plastic shopping baskets (“canastas de abuelas”) in Oaxaca.) All the baskets are completely handmade, adapting the traditional techniques of split cane weaving to the more modern materials of polythene fibre and galvanised wire. To make these baskets well – with a tight, even weave and a regular shape – requires a great deal of skill. Many prisoners learn how to make baskets while in prison and find it is a useful skill to have upon their release, when their criminal record might otherwise inhibit them finding new employment. The best basket-makers are often long-term prisoners who have had time to learn the craft.

    This system of prison workshops is distinct from the prison labour of the United States’ private prisons. The Mexican prison workshop system is set up to assist the incarcerated with learning new skills and having an income over the course of their sentence.

    Originally, Tom was  introduced to Nivardo Rocha by the prison workshop manager. For 10 years, until Nivardo was released in 2016,  Tom worked directly with him in the prison, driving the materials in himself and picking up the finished baskets. These days this is managed on our behalf by the family-run packing/shipping business we work with in San Miguel, La Union.

    Following Nivardo’s release, Milagros continued to work with him. When the orders were too large for him to handle in his workshop, he collaborated with  prison inmates to make them.  Sadly, Nivardo had a severe stroke at the beginning of this year, and died just over a month ago. Alvaro Patiño has now taken over the basket-making operation: Alvaro was Nivardo’s star apprentice in the prison and they worked together on Milagros orders for many years. Alvaro was released at the end of last year and Milagros is now helping him set up a workshop in the community where his family live.

    hand made ironing baskets from mexico

    And, in an unexpected and rather happy turn of events, our baskets caught the eye of Philippe Starck, French architect and lead designer of Mama Shelter hotels. Working with Mama Shelter , Milagros has made basket  trays for a number of their hotels, including those in Istanbul, Belgrade, Los Angeles and most recently Luxembourg (the Luxembourg hotel having just opened at the beginning of 2020 –  we wish them luck in these tough times!). Milagros has also worked for many years with Wahaca producing bespoke oval taco baskets for their restaurants (one to bear in mind when we’re all allowed out again!).

    We hope you are all safe and well.

    Buena Salud,

    Milagros

  • Milagros Mexican hand made recycled glassware

    June 2020 – Mexican recycled glassware!

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    Good morning!

    Given that shops will be allowed to open as of June 15th, we’re thinking hard about how we can best open in a safe and responsible manner. Please watch this space, and our Instagram, for more information in the days to come!

    Milagros sells a wide range of handmade crafts from Mexico. Although the bulk of our business is tiles, we also sell a lot of mouth-blown recycled glassware, which we’ve been commissioning since we started the business.  Of late we’ve seen a renewed spike in interest in this. We know we’ve told you about it before in a previous issue of the newsletter, but below we’ve included a little more detail about how it gets made. Plus, we’re getting a  large shipment of it in July!

    Milagros recycled Mexican glassware

     

    Milagros works with three glass-making workshops in Tonala and Tlaquepaque, near Guadalajara – an area which has a long-standing  glass-making tradition. We’ve been working with one of the workshops for thirty years: they’ve been a part of the business from the beginning! The workshops currently range in size from about twelve  to forty staff. Within the workshops, employees operate as teams, called chairs, with a master glassblower and apprentices running pieces to and from the kiln to their working chairs. The less experienced glassblowers start on the simpler pieces and it takes years to progress up through the ranks. And, as we’ll explain, the work requires a lot of physical strength and dexterity!

    To begin with, the raw materials: as we’re very proud of saying, all our glassware is made from recycled glass. For a long time, one source was reusable Coca Cola and Pepsi bottles when they reached the end of their reusable lives, but now any clear glass – bottles, windows – as long as it has the right characteristics, can be used. These are delivered as washed shards, ready to be melted down in a large crucible inside a kiln. The molten glass needs to be in the furnace for about 12 hours before it should be worked.

    Milagros Mexican coloured recycled glassware

     

    To start any piece, a ball of molten glass is picked up with the end of a long hollow pole, (called a pontil pole) from the crucible, accessed through a hole in the side of the furnace. For the simpler pieces (like the straight and flared tumblers or vases), the glass is blown into a tubular mould. For the ribbed glassware, a bubble is initially blown into a mould made from steel rods. A hinged iron mould is used for many of the curved and more complex pieces, though sometimes these are made freehand.

    The glassblower stands on a stool and blows down the pole, creating a bubble which  expands to fill  the muold. Once the basic shape is achieved, the holding point is shifted to what will become the bottom of the piece – this is why some of our pieces have a little belly button-like bump on their base.  The glassblower is usually seated for the next stage, which involves opening out the bubble from the end that had been the blowing point, initially using pincers and then doing so by hand. All the while, the glassblower will be rolling the pole up and down the arm of the work chair. It’s like turning clay on a wheel in pottery, but working horizontally, rather than vertically and in front of you as with a wheel. They must keep the glass constantly turning because it is semi-liquid and its shape will collapse if left still. Whilst turning the pole, they will also be using a damp mat (or, in some cases, a wad of damp newspaper) around the outside of the glass to ensure a smooth finish. With bigger pieces like jugs and vases, the process is the same, but the weight – and therefore the heat – is much greater. When a workshop is full, it’s positively balletic to watch: men dance around each other constantly with molten glass on the end of thin poles!

    With pieces that require joining (like the feet and stems of wine glasses or the handles of jugs), there is an added complication, in that each piece of glass must be reintroduced to the kiln so as to match its temperature to that of the glass it is to be joined with, otherwise the shrinkage of the glass  as it cools (the rate of cooling is known as the coefficient of expansion) will be different and can create invisible tension in the glass, leading to later breakages or underlying fragilities.

    Milagros recycled glassware hand made in Mexico

     

    Coloured glass is created when a small ball of pigment (which usually arrives at the workshops in the form of thin coloured rods or bags of chips), with a coefficient of expansion matching that of the clear body, is picked up with the pontil pole before being encapsulated in a larger ball of clear glass. When blown, this expands to form a coloured skin inside the clear glass bubble. Our confetti tumblers are made when a glassblower scatters a mix of  coloured chips onto a steel-top table, and then rolls a molten clear glass object over them, so that they fuse into the body of the glass. These tumblers are made in the same workshop that creates our highly popular coloured Virgin of Guadelupe glasses – but these are made from start to finish in a mould.

    Many of the techniques used in the making and decoration of this Mexican glass were first developed in the making of Venetian glass in Murano. The two-tone glassware that we sell was introduced to Mexico about 25 years ago by one of our glassmakers looking to replicate the Italian architect Carlo Scarpa’s designs for Venini.

    Our glassware is available to buy on our website, but if there’s something you don’t see, feel free to drop us an e-mail or give us a call, and we can have a look for you! We are also happy to take bespoke commissions for larger orders.

     

    Buena Salud as ever,

    Milagros

  • Arabesque hand made tiles drying.

    The Tile Maker

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    Arabesque hand made tiles drying.

    Good morning all! We hope you are keeping safe and well in the time of  Coronavirus . We just wanted to  give you  an update with regards to our tiles, as stocks have been a little low for the last few months.

    The good news is, our warehouse is a one-man operation – our dear Gaff works there alone and  we can continue to ship your tile orders from Bristol! The next news item is that our new shipment of tiles should arrive within a fortnight. They arrive by sea freight container, so we never know precisely when the ship will dock, but as soon as it has we can set about restocking most of the tiles which have gotten low on our website. Thank you for bearing with us during this time!
    It was with a heavy heart that we recognised that we had to find a new tile-maker  last spring, as the workshop we’d been working with for over twenty-five years moved to a more mechanised process. Progress ! We have always wanted to sell genuinely handmade products at Milagros, which means handmade from start to finish. Our supplier was starting to machine extrude the clay for the tile biscuit  (the unglazed clay tile squares) rather than rolling it out by hand . This makes for a more regular tile with a more uniform finish, but it was to the loss of the wonderful irregularities that we love so much. You can tell a genuinely handmade tile by the variations in the glazed surface: some are ever so slightly convex or concave, and, when laid side by side, they make for a beautifully pillowed texture. (If ever you’re in the neighbourhood and want to see this in the wild, why not grab a coffee at Pavilion across the street from Milagros, in Columbia Road: those are our Claro Green and Puro White tiles on the walls).

    S0, Tom set off a year ago to find another tile maker in Dolores Hidalgo (the traditional home of this style of handmade – Talavera – tile in Mexico). After weeks of searching and asking around he found that most tile making “fabricas” (workshops/factories), of which there are many, had moved over to the more industrial process in recent years. However, a pottery that Milagros has worked with for some years was willing, with some help, to start making handmade tiles. After a number of teething problems this is  now  the second shipment,  on a ship bound for the UK, with a third one to follow in July. And it transpires that this is now one of the only workshops making this style of genuinely handmade tiles  in Mexico! If Tom has inadvertently had a small hand in keeping this key craft tradition alive, it is also down to you and your continued support of the shop, for which we are always very grateful, but especially at this time.

    If you want more information about the tile-making process, how to lay them in your home, or to watch this short film made at the old workshop, you can find it all on our website. If you have any questions before or after purchase, we are happy to speak on the phone or over e-mail. And we love to hear from past customers too, so if you would like to send us snaps of your tiles in their forever homes for our Instagram, we’d love to see them!

     

    Buena salud,

    Milagros

  • Milagros recycled glassware hand made in Mexico

    I never met a color I didn’t like – Chihuly at Kew.

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    Milagros recycled glassware hand made in Mexico

    We mentioned in our last newsletter that we recently collaborated with Kew Gardens, providing them with recycled glassware for the gift shop of their Dave Chihuly exhibition. We thought we’d take this opportunity to elaborate, given that Chihuly is a genius in the art of glass sculpture, and has a lot of great things to say about his medium. You can find an interview with him on the occasion of the Kew exhibition here.

    Chihuly arrived at glassblowing via interior design, thinking initially that he wanted to be an interior designer. When he found his true passion, he worked as a fisherman in Alaska long enough to raise money for graduate school. From there it was a tale of going from strength to strength: RISD, then a Fulbright scholarship to Murano. After fifty years as a successful artist, he can safely say: “I’ve never met a colour I didn’t like”.

    In the words of the man himself, “glass is the most magical of all materials. It transmits light in a special way.” We happen to think so too, and also love glass for the fact that it can be infinitely recycled. We have been getting our glassware from the same family-run workshops in Tonala and Tlaquepaque (both in the state of Jalisco, near Guadalajara) since Milagros’s beginnings. There, glass bottles which have reached the end of their lives are melted down and made new into beautiful, brightly-coloured glassware which lets the light through just so. Every single piece is handmade and mouth-blown, which makes for charming (we think so!) variations in height or width.

    Kew Gardens
  • About our Christmas windows December 2019….

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    Now a firmly established and beloved fixture of the London calendar, Columbia Road’s Christmas Wednesdays hark back to the Dickensian charms of Christmases past. With its row of quaint Victorian houses and newly bedazzled streetlamps, the road was seemingly made for this time of year. We hope you join us before the run is out, for an evening of characterful, independent Christmas shopping in some of the most beloved small businesses in London. The local church will be wheeling their grand piano up and down the street for carols and the scent of mulled wine will waft through the air…

     

    Another aspect of the Christmas season is the street-wide competition for the best window display. This year we are once again lucky to have ours populated by a veritable winter wonderland of animals. These harlequin rabbits, deer, and badgers are ‘vegan taxidermy’, created by mother-daughter duo Maria Varela and Claudia Alvarez at Chulita Design. The two have worked in partnership with natural history museums in Argentina and Spain. Their pieces are made of resin, with upholstery fabric and no animal remains, yet maintain a incredible understanding of animal anatomy. Each piece is a unique and characterful piece of art. You can find their work at their website or for sale in our shop. We’ve included a short interview with Claudia and Maria below.

     

    How did you decide to settle on an ‘harlequin’ aesthetic?

    Claudia: The idea comes from our love and passion for nature and wildlife. My mother and I grew up in families where the wildlife, theatre and art were always very present.We try to show the wildlife from our human perspective by preserving the details of the animals and twisting them into something more theatrical and fun.

    What are your favourite animals to design and why?

    In the 80’s we lived in South Africa for a short period of time. Ever since we’ve been in love with all the antelopes!

     

    Taxidermy is old-fashioned and associated with people who hunt for pleasure. What was your goal with making vegan taxidermy with such a playful look?

    Metamorphosis means transformation, the transformation that animals experiment in their biological development. Our goal is to create a metamorphosis in people’s mindsets, and bring wildlife to their lives and homes without hurting any animals. We have managed to maintain all the morphology of real animals, but with a playful and theatrical aesthetic.

  • Anti Trump niche

    No Wall! November 2019.

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    La Escalera lotteria niche

    This weekend marks thirty years of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Here at Milagros, we’d like to take this opportunity to express our virulent disgust at Trump’s wall along the U.S. Mexico border. We believe an open world is a healthy one, and are well aware of the desperation that causes people to make the perilous journey to the United States, uprooting themselves from their communities and often leaving loved ones behind. One of our foremost aims as a business is to work with artists and craftspeople so as to help them make a living, so that they do not feel pushed to make this daunting decision. Mexico holds a dear place in our hearts, and we want to bring people its aesthetics and traditions. We’re always happy to answer your questions about where something is made and who by.

    And in the meantime, we hope that this weekend you raise a glass to civil resistance against harmful regimes. May you help one another to live with dignity, and may the spirit that brought the Wall down live on. Salud!

    Dump Trump niche

  • Day of the Dead Returns October 2019.

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    We would love to see you there other than you are.

    Milagros is delighted to announce that its Day of the Dead festival returns this year for its third edition. Please join us on Saturday 12pm, November 2nd, for a day of celebration. You can expect a female mariachi band, a Day of the Dead beauty parlour, delicious Mexican food, best dressed skeleton dog competition and Frida Kahlo head dress workshop – all with loads of colour, spice, and all things nice. We’ll be filling the street with flowers and there will even be a procession! Children and furry friends are, of course, guests of honour. Further details of the event can be followed on our Facebook page – or why not stop by and have a chat in person? Either way, we hope to see you there. Salud!

     

    About the Day of the Dead

    Maybe you’re someone who first became aware of the Day of the Dead because you watched James Bond strolling through Mexico City in the opening of Spectre; or maybe you’re small and you watched the movie Coco (or maybe you’re the parent of a small person who watched the movie Coco) – either way, awareness of this festival has been increasing in the UK in recent years.

    Much of Mexican culture dramatizes the collision of pre- with post-Hispanic traditions, and the Day of the Dead is a great example. It springs from an indigenous attitude to life and death, which has since been combined with what many other Christians around the world would know as All Souls’ Day, November 1st (the day after Halloween). While many people are initially struck by the preponderance of skeletons in Mexican folk art and imagery, but this is actually all part of a very different, and much more positive, attitude to death. The Day of the Dead is an opportunity to remember departed loved ones, and to celebrate their lives among others who loved them. With much colour and dancing, death is made a part of life and the well-lived life is a cause for celebration. We hope to have the pleasure of your company.

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