October 18, 2011 in vintage finds
It began with a boy and a girl holding paintbrushes (a perfect pair) and a single leg! I first began collecting these vintage ex-votos whilst on holiday in Greece about 15 years ago and they are some of my favourite things.
These metal votive offerings are still found in Catholic churches around Europe and Mexico. They are given to a divinity or a saint as a personal thank you note. Sometimes they were given with prayer as plees for help too. I love the eclectic mix of the subjects and when I come across them for sale I can’t resist them.
My collection is on display in a row on a shelf above my bed. They are so light that jut a small tab of blue-tack keeps them in place. I mixed in some little mirrors that I bought on a trip to India and also blue-tacked some vintage buttons in random places on the wall to form a spotty 3D wallpaper.
In my hallway I placed a more ornate votive inside an old flea market frame that I had painted, both stuck directly to the wall with Pritt pads. The metal is slightly tarnished, but I don’t mind as this adds to the character.
I only come across them on rare occasions but there is probably just enough room for another two or three when I do find some more. I love the way they catch the light, their delicacy, their nieve, folk-art style and that each one has a very personal story behind. A little collection of little things that makes me happy.
Do you collect something that brings you joy?
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.