The Apotropaic Garden is a new celebration of the magick and mythology of plants reputed to ward off evil and misfortune. This project began long ago as conversations with frequent collaborators The Dark Exact and Laurel Witting. It felt like the right time to cultivate some community strength and joy, and set some intentions around deflecting harm and protecting the vulnerable. So if you’d like to join us in making art to celebrate the protective and healing powers of plants, just post your creations on Instagram with the hashtag #TheOtherLanguageOfFlowers. There are no rules and no deadlines, and all mediums (from paintings to poems to spells) are welcomed. Let’s make a whole (virtual) apotropaic garden of protective flora to ward off evil!
The Dark Exact
The Cimaruta spell papers, Garden Timeline postcard set, and Century Plant tote bag created by Coleman Stevenson are available now. Learn more about each of these pieces in The Dark Exact shop.
The Creeping Museum
The Vigilant Peony brooches, book talismans, and necklaces are available now.
In the midst of chaos, it's difficult to think about anything but the immediate present. Between the uncertainty of the upcoming election and a global pandemic raging with no end in sight, contemplating the future can feel futile. But this critical moment is exactly the time we should be looking toward the future. The old world was broken, and it's not coming back. It's time for us to start building a new one. This is our moment to decide what things must change, and begin the work of changing them.
In 1860, thousands of young abolitionists calling themselves the Wide Awakes donned their capes, raised their banners, and marched in the streets for emancipation. A new group of artists, activists, and cultural workers have reinvented this movement for our own critical moment in history. They recognize what's at stake, and they believe that a better world--one centered around listening, healing, and justice--is possible. They're using art and creative collaboration to start conversations, inspire civic participation, and imagine the infinite horizons of the future.
The Vote Feminist Parade at the Wide Awakes March in New York City, October 3, 2020.
Photos by Sarah Cascone, courtesy of Young Women in the Arts.
Rejoice in the Future! virtual march
In honor of Election Day, from now until November 3 we're holding our own @wideawakes march--virtually!--as both an act of joy and resilience and as an invocation for a brighter tomorrow. We're reclaiming our power as artists to radically reimagine our shared future, and we'd like you to join us, from wherever you are! Just make and post a "banner"--a literal banner or sign, a Wide Awakes style cape, a poem, a video, a playlist, a recipe, a story, a spell, or any other favorite medium--that celebrates our resilience and strength, or sets your intentions for a better world. Everyone is welcomed to participate. Tag your post with #wideawakeatthecreepingmuseum and join our virtual march!
Individually we are asleep.
Together we are Wide Awake!
We’re so excited to announce that we’ll be co-presenting THE HAUNTING—the 1963 adaptation of Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House—in partnership with @hollywoodtheatr’s Feminist March programming. Join us for a rare opportunity to see this groundbreaking (and genuinely frightening) film in all its 35mm black and white glory on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale now!
Directed by Robert Wise (The Day the Earth Stood Still, West Side Story), this slow-burn horror classic has influenced generations of filmmakers. The scenario is now a familiar one: A mysterious invitation, a group of strangers, a foreboding mansion with a notorious history. But at the heart of this quintessential haunted house tale is the complex, uneasy relationship between two women: fragile, isolated Eleanor (Julie Harris) and self-assured femme Theo (Claire Bloom).
THE HAUNTING—which debuted to audiences the same year as the publication of The Feminine Mystique and the signing of the Equal Pay Act—reflects a generation of women growing increasingly discontent with the constraints of postwar gender roles. Eleanor’s instability and repressed rage—and her entrapment within the confines of an oppressive home—echoes Jackson’s own unhappiness and alienation in her role as a homemaker in 1950s America. In Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life, biographer Ruth Franklin writes, “Her body of work constitutes nothing less than the secret history of American women of her era.”
A collection of resources for people looking to support wildfire relief efforts in Northern and Southern California. These links were provided by Creeping Museum community members and the list is by no means intended to be comprehensive. Please exercise due diligence when donating funds. If you have a link to add, please comment below or send an email to hello (at) creepingmuseum.com.
GoFundMe: How to help those impacted by the fires in California
Includes links to resources and verified fundraising campaigns.
California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund
The California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund supports intermediate and long-term recovery efforts for major California wildfires, as well as preparedness efforts.
Grants from the Wildfire Relief Fund have supported those who were displaced or lost housing, belongings and/or employment, or suffered physical or mental health problems; helped to rebuild homes; provided case management services, basic needs assistance, mental health services and financial assistance; upgraded 2-1-1 phone and information system; assisted California wildfire victims with follow-up medical care and supplies; provided respiratory equipment and information to people with lung disease; educated homeowners about green rebuilding; and provided disaster preparedness information.
North Valley Community Foundation
The North Valley Community Foundation Camp Fire Relief Fund will provide financial resources to organizations and agencies responding to those affected by the fires in Northern California.
Camp Fire Relief Fund
Fund to support victims of the Camp Fire.
Pets and wildlife
North Valley Animal Disaster Group
The North Valley Animal Disaster Group (NVADG) works with local emergency agencies and responders to help people and animals in times of crisis. They are all-volunteer and provide education, emergency shelter, and evacuation and rescue to communities affected by the disaster. During the Camp Fire, they have handled over 3,000 calls for service, and currently, have 1,365 animals in their shelters.
LA Animal Services
LA Animal Services has been evacuating LA county pets displaced by the Woolsey Fire and housing them at their shelters. In addition to donations, they need people to adopt or foster animals to create life-saving space in the shelters.
Nature of Wildworks
Rescue for non-releasable wildlife in Topanga Canyon which was evacuated due to the wildfires. Much of their perishable food was lost due to the power being off, so donations will help buy food for the animals.
Help the Rose family post fire
Support for a family who lost two homes in the Paradise fire.
We’re pleased to announce the return of our Little Free Library gallery shows with Truly, Man is the Deadliest Predator, a poetic audio-visual experience on loan from the Doppelgänger Museum through December. The museum curators Aspen Farer and Coleman Stevenson will be present on opening night, Friday, November 9th, 7-9pm, to discuss the work and answer your questions. (Headphones encouraged.)
About the Doppelgänger Museum Catalogue and Collections
This is an excerpt from the Catalogue of the (im)permanent collections of the Doppelgänger Museum, a museum dedicated to displaying translations, reiterations, reimaginings, and evolutions of existing and lost works of art. The works in this collection are known to many, but through the curators’ repeated viewings and discussions, mutations have occurred. This art is accumulating; any of the multitude of contexts in which each original work has been situated (including non-linear time and space) can become a tangible part of the translated pieces held in the Doppelgänger Museum Collections. The mechanism of Time and the act of thinking or talking about works in the collections change the nature of the collections. The curators have attempted to isolate some of these aspects for closer examination through the inclusion of artifacts and archival excerpts in the Catalogue pages. The attached explanations are rather oblique, as it has become impossible to speak of this diaspora in a straightforward manner. Patrons may visit the Doppelgänger Museum at any time by describing, discussing, or dreaming about any existing work of art, even if that conversation remains inside its originator’s head. Acquisitions to the Museum’s Collections are ongoing; works recently accessioned may also be viewed at https://www.instagram.com/doppelgangermuseum/.
No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.
― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
For centuries women’s identities have been intricately tied to The House, and the act of homemaking – managing and creating the world within and around the home itself. Our spirits anchored to these structures of domesticity, like ghosts for all eternity.
The House serves as a symbolic and literal space of confinement, of societal expectations, like a tightly laced corset, molding us into unnatural shapes, restricting our breath, until all we want to do is scream. But, we can’t because that would be...unladylike.
We are all haunted houses, carrying the weight of ideals, and expectations, coupled with the past, present, and future.
I am like a small creature swallowed whole by a monster, she thought, and the monster feels my tiny little movements inside.
― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House
Horror, particularly the books and stories of Shirley Jackson, validated my experience of the world and of others. The monsters are next door, they are sleeping next to us, and sometimes...they are inside us.
The monsters are here.
Through Jackson’s writing and the genre of horror in film and literature, I learned who I could be, outside of The House. Horror stories were the only acceptable space where women could scream, roar, rage, and resist.
Stories of werewolves were all that addressed the confusing experience of puberty with its hair growth, painful shape-shifting, and growing into something altogether...monstrous, yet powerful. Like Merricat Blackwood in Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle, I too thought that I could have been born a werewolf.
I met Merricat when I was nine, when I came across a book cover in the library that featured a young girl with long, dark hair like mine. She was looking out of a broken window with a black cat at her side. I also had a black cat named Cornelius at the time.
Prior to this I had been fortunate enough to live those short nine years in the same place with a loving, attentive family. I found myself plucked from this life and everything I knew, without warning, to live among violent, abusive strangers. Desperate to have some control over my existence and some small bit of hope to keep me going through the days, I developed OCD. Like Jackson’s Merricat, I wove magic and spells made of numbers and daily rituals to protect myself. In Merricat, I met someone as odd as myself, just when I needed it most. I no longer felt quite as helpless or alone.
It was then that I learned the world is full of people and adults who would rather look away or play the voyeur when monstrous things occur.
Like the girl in almost every horror film, who vehemently insists that something is not right. In fact, something is very wrong, (Don’t you see? Didn’t you hear?). My experiences, and those of countless other women, are too often disbelieved, dismissed, and disregarded, sometimes until it is too late.
That is, unless you can manage to save yourself, because no one is coming to save you. Because of horror, I not only realized this, but saved myself, becoming my own Final Girl. The Final Girl trope (and much of horror), is not without its problems - still told primarily through the male gaze, the good, beautiful and virtuous survive – but, it provided me with the tools I needed to escape. To survive. To live.
To act is to engage in the reality of horror - to look away, you can forget it ever happened. You can reason it away.
Horror forces a mirror up to us and makes us confront things in ourselves and in our society that make us deeply uncomfortable and vulnerable. Those of us that enjoy the genre are often made to feel ashamed, or even less intelligent than our peers. To indulge openly in “taboo” subjects like sex, violence, death, and fear, is deviant. Horror reaches for ways to confront and discuss the things we refuse to - gun violence, rage, racism, police violence, grief and loss, or gender violence.
Our relationship with horror is much like play for the young child, whose work is often playing house. Through playing “house” young children come to understand how to navigate the world and their place within it. For us, horror can do the same. How can we face our fears? How do we escape? What choices do we have? How do we learn to truly live?
Horror has been my advisor, therapist, and healer – things I was never going to get from the mainstream offerings I was expected to enjoy like rom coms and The Babysitter’s Club.
To learn what we fear is to learn who we are. Horror defies our boundaries and illuminates our souls.
― Guillermo del Toro, Haunted Castles, Dark Mirrors
Today, horror and the benefits it offers us are more relevant and needed than ever. For now though, The House will continue to breed restless spirits who give birth to angry, sometimes vengeful ghosts.
Some of us may struggle to break free, to move on, but The House does not let us. So we cry, and moan, and the walls creak with our rage. Haunting. Haunted.
Sarah Chavez is the executive director of The Order of the Good Death, co-host of the new podcast Death in the Afternoon, and co-founder of Death & the Maiden. In addition to working as a museum curator she writes and speaks about a variety of subjects including the relationship between food and death, Mexican-American death history, and decolonizing death rituals. You can follow her on Twitter.
Our “Darkness Within” collection included a tiny art show at our table at the Oddities Flea Market in Los Angeles on September 29, 2018. Each piece was inspired by a different passage from Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House.
The exhibition was composed of the following original works of art:
“Hill House is vile, it is diseased; get away from here at once.”
“Hill House” by Megan Wyreweden
Megan is donating all proceeds from the sale of “Hill House” to the Rainforest Trust, which purchases and protects the most threatened tropical forests, saving endangered wildlife through partnerships and community engagement.
“...The evil is the house itself, I think. It has enchained and destroyed its people and their lives, it is a place of contained ill will. Well. Tomorrow you will see it all.”
“The Evil is the House Itself” by Becky Munich
Becky is very generously donating the proceeds from this piece to help fund future nonprofit Creeping Museum endeavors like our Little Free Library art shows and bookplate projects!
“‘Something is knocking on the doors,’ Theodora said in a tone of pure rationality.”
“Something is Knocking on the Doors” by Natalie Erickson
Natalie is donating all proceeds to Trans Lifeline, an organization working to fight the epidemic of trans suicide and improve overall life-outcomes of trans people by facilitating justice-oriented, collective community aid.
“‘Fear,’ the doctor said, ‘is the relinquishment of logic, the willing relinquishing of reasonable patterns. We yield to it or we fight it, but we cannot meet it halfway.’”
“Fear” by Holly Cappello
Holly is donating all proceeds from the sale of this piece to Marrow PDX, a wonderful Portland nonprofit youth-centered community space for education, arts, and activism.
“Holding hands so hard that each of them could feel the other’s bones, Eleanor and Theodora listened…”
Necklace set by Pinky Swear Jewelry (Beth Wagner & Holly Henderson), hand carved and cast sterling silver with six diamonds.
Beth and Holly are donating all proceeds from the sale of this piece to Puplandia Dog Rescue, an Oregon nonprofit that rescues, rehabilitates, and rehomes dogs in need.
“I think perhaps after dinner we will have a little session with planchette… Just Arthur and I, of course; the rest of you, I can see, are not ready yet; you would only drive away the spirits.”
“The Planchette” by Meagan Meli
Meagan is donating proceeds from the sale of this piece to Housing Works, an organization working to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS in New York.
Thanks to everyone who shopped at our table at the Oddities Flea Market in Los Angeles on September 29, together we raised a total of $774 for the following nonprofit organizations:
.Each of our Darkness Within bookplates was inspired by a different passage from Shirley Jackson’s novel The Haunting of Hill House. The set features the work of twelve different artists:
All profits from these bookplates will be divided between homelessness-related nonprofit organizations in each artist’s home city:
Through our nonprofit collaborations, exhibitions, auctions and other projects, The Creeping Museum helped our contributing artists raise a total of $4,709 for an array of civil rights, animal welfare, health and human services, environmental, and educational causes in the first half of 2018.
The Haunted Menagerie
The Haunted Menagerie collection—released in February 2018–is our most ambitious project to date, thanks to the contributions of more than 25 participating artists and hundreds of hours of work. Highlights include:
Haunted Menagerie original art
Thanks to all of the artists who donated their time and original to our Haunted Menagerie exhibition (both a miniature show in our Little Free Library and a virtual show online), together we raised $1,390 for animals large and small:
Other Q1 and Q2 2018 initiatives