Making is a non-verbal way of exploring and learning about Regenerativity --the recurring need to change Our Story, to refresh, reestablish, re-create ourselves and our places in our family and community.
In this way, the power of making is larger than art, commodity and even "creativity." It is an ancient human act in which we all share.
Starting from Where You Are
The Casual Alchemist
Making as a spiritual and political activity in times of transition, inviting people to discover, renew, adjust their own inherent creative capacities through stories, pictures, inspirations and practices.
It encourages distraction and interruption. It features the transient and the casual as primary influences, not impediments, to the process.
Contact with unconscious intelligence (creativity) must not be immediately commodified into art or consumption. It is basically a spiritual experience.
Making is an important, accessible, non-verbal, casual, personal portal for people in transition, people seeking regenerative activities for themselves, their family and the community. This book is larger than personal creativity.
There are three major sections, allowing for different learning styles:
1. Daniel Mack's essays over 25 Years This is the trail of events and discoveries Mack himself has made about the consequences of being with Things: teaching how to make them, collecting, buying, making, selling and gifting them.
2. A PlayBook for getting right into DOING IT .
3. The Grimoire .. a grimoire is the recipe or note book of a particular Alchemist-Magician-Witch.
This is an image-driven tour of Mack's personal and public responses, reactions and evolution into a Casual Alchemist over 30 years. It is his blueprint to perhaps look through as you are making your own.
It is a record of the influences and inspirations that helped form Mack's work. It lists other artists, poets, makers he admires and offers a collection of stories and poems he has found helpful. It lays out interesting projects in workshops, schools, rural villages and urban and suburban communities. It's his alchemy-in-service.
He offers a section of Resources... where to find the stuff of Casual Alchemy, from porcupine quills and pottery shards to handmade watercolor papers and more.
Daniel Mack is an artist, writer and teacher. His first book (of seven), Making Rustic Furniture (1991) sold over 100,000 copies, because of its common language, inviting style and timing. This current project, which began in 1997, presents several ways of accessing the creative unconscious. The reader is invited to actively compose the experience appropriate to mood and concern and the pressing distractions of the day.
Archetypal psychologist James Hillman and his protege, Thomas Moore
Naomi Remen on the differences between helping, fixing or serving.
Lewis Hyde’s two books, The Gift and The Trickster Makes the World,
The Casual Alchemist is rooted in a Piaget approach to teaching/learning; it is about guided discovery, not lessons and exercises.
There are indeed lots of books on crafts, making, spirituality and "transformation" filling shelves.
The Casual Alchemist is in a smaller subset of such books which starts from the experience of making... and presents it in the tradition of Alchemy and Surrealism.
But probably the most distinctive feature is the tone or style. It is NOT set up in a hierarchical fashion. It is not a Way to learn and master. It tries not to let "teaching" get in the way of learning.
The Casual Alchemist tries to revive the notion of "Ordinary Magic"... that sensibility and need all humans have to effect and influence the world around them.. The root of the word witch is the German weik, which means to curve or bend. That's the drive of humans to keep ordering, bending, curving the disorder and chaos they experience. Making is a central form of that.
The Casual Alchemist is not a self-help psychology book, nor a collection of poetic meditations.
The Casual Alchemist is a Hand-Book for Adjusting and Re-Creating lives in transition and distress.
Bench Hooks for the Great Work, and the Lesser Work, too These are portable work areas. It makes any flat surface into a special area. Hardwoods. Various sizes. All made by Dan $25
A Collection of Found Objects suitable for the Casual Alchemy. A Casual Alchemist starter kit or Gift Dan has been collecting for almost fifty years. He is now making these objects available in collections $20
Child's Rustic Chair 22" tall
very sturdy and barky $450