Esther Vigil was living in the Española Valley with her family when Los Alamos was selected as a site for the Manhattan Project.
Vigil attended school at Los Alamos for several years. Both she and her mother later worked at Los Alamos, babysitting for famous scientists like Edward Teller and Stanislaus Ulam. She also worked for the Supply and Property Department.
Vigil is best known for her work to preserve and reintroduce the New Mexico tradition of colcha embroidery. She has written two books on the art and history of colcha.