The love affair began on a sunny, crisp morning, as I was finding inspiration in the mixed objects and textures artfully displaced on the scattered tables at the semi annual Round Top Antiques Fair about eight years ago. The tiny brass heart trinket, caught my eye, as it seemingly attempted to beat to grab my attention. This tiny, exquisite heart from the 1800’s... and France… was the beginning of my still small ex-voto collection. It was love at first sight!
Generally considered a part of Catholicism history, ex-votos were presented in chapels or placed at the feet of grand saint statues, as a wish or in gratitude of a miracle needed or already performed. These authentic, intricate beauties are all hinged and open to reveal a locket, a space for secrets and requests to be placed. My collection consists of all gilded brass, engraved or raised lettering ex-votos, bearing the initial “M”….for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Antique ex-votos, found in my collection, can sell for several hundred dollars and should not be confused with lovely reproductions being made today.
When my husband and I renewed our wedding vows on the island, nearly four years ago, I enclosed two different tiny folded cuts of paper, containing favorite scriptures and another quote about making each other laugh. These were the first two secrets that the lockets kept for us. I wrapped the entire collection around my bouquet and they traveled down the sandy path, as we began our vow renewal. With great delight, both my daughter-in-laws enclosed scripture in separate ex-votos and gracefully wrapped their bridal bouquets in the same manner. So these have walked down three aisles in their recent history, but if only I knew the stories they could tell.
Today, these Treasured Trinkets drape a shell embellished pipe clay example in our Texas casa. This simple collection represents love and devotion to me and I truly treasure them. --E