ISSUE 41  |  Moody Artistes

Shopper’s Diary: The Ministry of Stories and Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

October 12, 2011 8:30 PM

BY Christine Chang Hanway

Running low on monster essentials? Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is the place to go to stock up; while you're there, keep an eye out for the hidden entrance to the companion organization, Ministry of Stories. Inspired by American writer David Eggers' 826 Valencia project, London-based graphic designers We Made This Ltd. collaborated with a group of like-minded people, including British writer Nick Hornsby, to create a writing center where children ages 8 to 18 can get one-to-one tutorials with professional writers and other volunteers. Following the model of the 826 Valencia centers—which are disguised as pirate and robot supply stores, among other things—the Ministry of Stories is fronted by a fantastical shop, firing up the budding writer's imagination as well as generating income for the Ministry of Stories. Launched in November 2010 on Hoxton Street in East London, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies is about to usher in its first Halloween.

Photography by We Made This Ltd.

Above: The storefront for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, whose tagline is "Purveyor of Quality Goods for Monsters of Every Kind."

Above: The greengrocer of London's monster community.

Above: The rules of the shop are spelled out at the entry.

Above: Well-stocked shelves of monster supplies hide the entrance to the Ministry of Stories.

Above: The labels of the Tinned Fear product line are digitally printed in a single color to keep costs down and then applied to blank tins by volunteers.

Above: Balls of twine are transformed with inventive graphics.

Above: The humorous logo of the Ministry of Stories.

Above: Playful illustrations by Heather Sloane give Ministry visitors something to think about.

Above: A selection of Ministry button badges and pencils.