One of the most prevalent things I’ve noticed right away when I moved to the PNW was that there is no lack of modern-day witches. Green witches too and of corpse that comes as no surprise since this place is abundant with natural love and light energy with all the forests and rivers. But, that doesn’t mean it was easy for me to find my type of occultists.
Like when I was in SoCal, it wasn’t easy for me to find the right place to buy and share space with any spiritual shop. I had to drive forty miles out of the way for my ritual tools or order them from my favorite witches. But, when I did find them, the bond lasted. Even up here. I still support the Witches Brew LA and can’t wait to attend another event. But, I had to find my PNW version of the Witches Brew, and what came along exceeded all of my expectations.
I found Market of the Beast on Instagram back in October. Market of the Beast is a traveling/virtual dark art market for the weird, wild, occult, and obscure. See what I mean? What truly delighted me initially about Market of the Beast was that the producers of the market are two queerdos who are artists I was already paying close attention to. Alex Clundt of Drawn to the Bone Designs and Heather Loop of Feral Hag created Market of the Beast for the community of dark artists that don’t often get the chance to vend at other shows. I love when connections like these happen!
I had the chance to shop at Market of the Beast’s virtual market ‘The Satanic Solstice’ and enjoyed shopping, browsing, and discovering new talented artists. All of which matched my dark yet natural aesthetic. Complete with a playlist provided by Alex and Heather. I had to learn more about Market of the Beast’s founders as I anticipated the upcoming show ‘Burning Desires’ coming the weekend of February 4, 2022, and, of corpse, make new friends and find my witches here in the PNW.
I am grateful to Alex and Heather for taking the time to answer all of my inquiries and for allowing me to share their story with you. It’s all my pleasure to introduce you to this week’s Michelle Halloween creature feature… Market of the Beasts Alex Clundt and Heather Loop.
MH: It seemed like 2019 was the year where markets of all sorts were coming to fruition. Most seemed more of the mainstream “love and light” type of shopping experience. Was the lack of dark art markets your inspiration for birthing Market of the Beast?
MoTB: We were tired of not getting accepted into the normy markets because our work was too dark or doing markets where we barely made our table fee back. So we started our own dark art market for the weirdos and queerdos like us. We just never knew it would become what it is now!
MH: Tell me more about the first market. What was the response like?
MoTB: It was amazing! It was in Seattle at the unicorn bar in October of 2018! We had over 600 people come, and it was jammed packed! Everyone loved it; the artists were busy, people got to shop for things they liked. People thanked us for putting it on, and artists thanked us for the opportunity. It was wild! We did not expect any of that. We were both so jittery before the market started, and when it was over, we got to celebrate. Even today, we still get nervous before a market. The only difference is that we are better and faster at setting up.
MH: You didn’t let 2020 stop Market of the Beast. Complete with a playlist, it seems you conquered the virtual marketplace giving artists visibility while everyone was home. You still offer virtual marketplaces before each of your in-person events. What were/are the challenges of moderating virtual marketplaces. If any.
MoTB: VMoTB (Virtual Market of the Beast) was a big challenge. First off, neither of us was super computer savvy, and we had no layout for how actually to do a virtual market. So we had to figure it out on our own. We ended up coming up with the structure we have now and have only made some minor adjustments. Like, add categories to help people find what they are looking for easier. But as I said, it was a big challenge; I (Heather) had to sit down and teach myself how to use one of those website-building websites; it took me over 18 hours to figure out how to use and style the site. I also think it’s important to mention that I didn’t have internet for four years before this (just my phone’s wifi), and the only thing I knew how to do on a computer was answer emails and stream movies. But now I’m going to school for computer coding. Alex still doesn’t have a reliable computer and does all her work from her phone!
Yes, we are still offering virtual markets. We have decided to continue with virtual markets because they are an excellent opportunity for us and the artists involved. We get to meet so many talented people from around the world. Virtual markets have opened many doors for us. We have decided to host them the first weekend of February before the day, a summer one June/July-ish, an October one, and a December one. We have one coming up its February 4th-6th, called Burning Desires. I can send you the flier for it if you like.
MH: That’s so impressive! I’ve noticed quite a few artists don’t make the internet a priority up here in the PNW. It’s pretty inspiring and again very impressive that you’ve put together such an excellent site and virtual marketplace with minimal tools and experience.
Alex and Heather, you both are dark artists yourself. Tell us about Feral Hag and Drawn to the Bone Designs.
Feral Hag– I have been making jewelry since I was a kid. I never got serious about it until I was in my mid-30s. I create jewelry from found bones, upcycled bullets, and leather and electroplate nature. I designed everything with the best intentions and put that feral witch of the woods spin on it. I am self-taught in all the mediums I work with and have spent relentless hours failing and learning to perfect my skills. I usually work with many different mediums because I like to spice things up for myself. I will switch between acid etching, electroplating, soldering, screen printing, graphic design, and more. ***note Alex has changed her business name to Pyromanced*** Pyromanced has been an art project of mine for a few years now. My work covers a wide range of themes; all meant to bring beauty and life to the physical remains of death. Every piece tells a story intended to honor that animal’s life. All bones used are ethically sourced, and no animal dies for my work. I mainly work with pyrography which is burning designs into bones with a pyrography pen that reaches temperatures of 1200 degrees Fahrenheit.
MH: One of the things that drew me into Market of the Beast was the foundations that you both advocate for in addition to a unique shopping experience. PNW organizations that assist Black Trans Women just for starters. You both created something that breaks the stigma of dark art being all “ill-intended.” More so than the average marketplace. Why is it important to you both to express that we dark weirdos are often more willing to take care of humanity and our home, thus thwarting the assumption that we were all servants of the devil who sacrificed babies?
MoTB: Don’t get me wrong; I love a good baby sacrifice. It keeps me young! Haha, jk! We think it’s important to help others when you’re able, and we try to do so by example. Many artists can only donate to organizations or raise money for fundraisers by selling their art, and we are no exception to that rule. We believe in just being decent humans and treating each other with kindness. Unfortunately, we dark weirdos have such an ill-intended name. It seems like since a majority of the dark community has been bullied and ostracized growing up, we can relate/ empathize with others who are in a similar position. Some of us have been homeless (myself included) or have had drug problems (myself included), have been demeaned for their race, sex, religion, sexual preference, and so on. I think once you have traveled in those shoes, you can understand or know what it’s like and are willing to help others out if you are able to.
MH: I adore your mascots! Tell us about Peanut the Dog and Maggie the Three-Legged Possum. Do they attend in-person shows?
MoTB: Maggie, the three-legged opossum, does not attend shows; she is a grumpy old bitch! Herstory is that my partner found her over four years ago, and she was severely injured. We are not sure how she got hurt, but she wouldn’t have survived if we didn’t help her. We ended up getting some fish amoxicillin and gave it to her for two weeks, then one day her wound was filled with maggots; hence the name Maggie and the larvae helped heal her too (fun fact maggot secrete antimicrobial activity, kinda like an antibiotic) Peanut is my sweet rescue baby who has been my sidekick for over eight years now. I met him while going through the grief of losing a friend and met Peanut as friends foster pup I puppy sat. After a couple of days with him, I knew I wanted to give him a forever home. He comes to the markets (as long as he’s allowed) and loves snuggling up while mom works. Maybe he can meet Maggie one day, and we can get a group pic, haha!
MH: That’s quite the story about Maggie! I had no idea maggots could aid in healing. It makes all the sense, in any case. It’s mentioned on your site that Market of the Beast is willing to come to “your city.” How far is Market of the Beast willing to go?
MoTB: We have no limit! It’s just a matter of finding a bar/ venue willing to host us.
MH: With that, when and where can we expect from Market of the Beast in 2022?
MoTB: Four virtual markets and almost a show in a different city every month. We are looking at Portland, Tacoma, Seattle, Bellingham, Eugene, and Spokane.
Join me in supporting, visit, possibly apply to be a vendor and follow Market of the Beast at marketofthebeast.net ; IG: @marketofthebeast