Monday, 12 May 2014

Meet our talented tutors - Lindsey Vigurs - Party Girl


Lindsey Vigurs, our digital marketer and fancy fascinator-maker, joined the Ministry team last year. Lindsey is an illustrator by trade but enjoys a double life as a crafter of curious artifacts. As a self confessed 'terrible dressmaker' she is currently road-testing many of the Ministry courses, and bagging herself new skills (not to mention a new wardrobe of handmade garments) into the bargain!

A turning point in my life as a crafter
What first drew you to your craft ?
I got into craft through the renegade crafting movement: when craft got cool! This was largely due to buying a copy of Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book by Ziggy Hanaur and Victoria Woodcock. It was full of contemporary, quirky, fun and straightforward craft projects. It turns out that I'm a very enthusiastic crafter and a dab hand with a glue gun. I'm particularly drawn to upcycling projects, constructing new things out of old junk, and using a flash of neon spray-paint to update a tired vintage piece. As well as working behind the scenes at Ministry of Craft (social media, blogging etc!), I run regular hen parties making fabulous vintage-inspired fascinators.

What’s your crafting background?
I'm a freelance illustrator and graphic designer so I've been to Art School (hence my confidence with a glue gun) and I have a Masters Degree in printmaking. I love drawing and creating work for clients but crafting became a way of letting off steam and doing something totally different, whilst still being creative. When I moved to Manchester in 2006 I organised a local Arts & Craft Market as part of the excellent Chorlton Arts Festival. The market runs as part of the festival every year now and I'm glad that I played my part in setting it up. I sold my work at craft fairs for a couple of years but I'm much happier crafting for fun and running the parties at Ministry!

My new, handmade tunic dress in fox pattern fabric
Did you train professionally or are you self taught?
I got an excellent all round creative education at Art College; learning ceramics alongside drawing, creating sculptures and learning how to develop my own photographs. So I guess I have a good grasp of the basics but I'm currently making my way through the whole catalogue of Ministry courses! I've been on KNIT 123 and KNIT 456 already this year as my knitting skills were non existent. My sewing skills are also pretty shabby so I've just tested out our brand new SEW YOUR OWN TUNIC DRESS course. I did good and I have worn the dress for three days in a row. I may never take it off. You can follow my progress on twitter and instagram using the #lindseylearns hashtag.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
Instagram and Pinterest have changed my life. Seriously. The access to inspirational material is so constant that it's almost suffocating. But even when I'm visually and virtually exhausted I still find that connecting with a wonderful network of creative people from around the world totally lights my fire. I have been collaborating with a number of fellow artists recently and it has pushed my work in unusual and exciting directions.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career so far?
My lovely parents have always been super supportive, even when I was making very weird, creepy puppets as part of my degree course. And one of my Uni lecturers, the excellent illustrator Mick Marston, encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing (again, despite the creepy puppet episode). Craft-wise I'd have to say that Sam Sterken, founder of Ministry of Craft, has shown me how valuable and rewarding it is to pass on your own skills and passions to other people. Very cool.

Northern Quarter knitting
What’s the best thing about being a crafter?
Crafting is COOL! I love sitting in a Northern Quarter coffee shop (particularly Fig + Sparrow) or bar (particularly Common) and taking out my knitting / sketch book / glue gun. People are interested but not phased by the modern crafter, you can do it wherever and whenever. Crafting is eminently sociable and portable, and so much more rewarding than staying at home watching TV. Unless it's the Great British Sewing Bee. Obvs.
Transforming vintage Staffordshire pottery

Do you do any other crafts in your spare time, apart from what you specialise in?

I suppose my speciality is really creating prints and illustrations. But I'll turn my hand to almost anything: lampshade making, metal stamping, upcycling vintage staffordshire pottery is a real passion too. I'm from Stoke-on-Trent and can't walk past that shelf of random household items in a charity shop until I've checked the bottoms of all the ceramic plates and cups. If it's made in Staffordshire then it's mine! I like to give them a facelift by cutting stencils from my own illustrations and spray painting them in bright colours. You get a bit of the vintage decoration peeping through: I love that mixture of super modern and secondhand chic.

My cat print for Beau Loves is in the shops now!
What’s the best thing you’ve ever made?
I've been collaborating with the amazing Beau LOves kid's wear label for the past two years, creating illustrations and patterns to be printed onto their clothing. The collections have been very popular and have recently been taken on by Selfridges in London and Barney's in New York. It's a real thrill to see kids walking round wearing my prints, and following the buzz about them on social media. I'd buy the clothing myself if they made them in adult sizes!

Have you ever made a creative mistake?
Oh goodness yes. Where to begin. Did I mention the puppets? I've had numerous injuries from making lino prints- some crafts are just downright dangerous. But that's why we love them!

And your favourite tool or material?
Ink. I just love love love printing, be it stamping with a home made wine cork stamp, or screen printing on my kitchen table. After that it would be the glue gun.

What’s you favourite crafty story?
I really enjoyed my colleague Alison's confession that, whilst helping one of our customers with the stuffing of their patchwork pouf, a plaster came off her finger and was sewn up into the finished pouf. She only realised after the course had finished! Eww!

A happy hen with her finished fascinator
Where can we see / buy your work?
You can check out my illustration work at or I have a store on Society6 and you can buy lovely, locally made iPhone skins featuring my designs at Carvd. And if you want to see just how deft I am with a glue gun you'll have to book a fancy fascinator party with Ministry of Craft. You shan't regret it!
What have you got coming up in the future?
More collaborations with fellow artists in Manchester and hopefully a move towards getting some dedicated studio space where I can make a huge mess (and glue gun at will with gay abandon). We've also got some big projects coming up at Ministry too, such as appearing at Wayne Hemmingway's Vintage By the Sea Festival in September. It's going to be a busy year and I couldn't be happier!

You can find Lindsey at and follow her across the social mediasphere: facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, tumblr

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