Daniel Mack

Casual Alchemist

A Book, PlayBook and Learning Opportunities with Daniel Mack

Brand New and Under Construction

Autumn 2017


I'm Here For You

As a maker and teacher, I can offer you a varied menu of activities to help you kindle the sparks of creativity and imagination.  It starts with the core materials in my book, The Casual Alchemist and continues here and in my Pinterest Boards, to let you customize the experiences you need.

Starting from Where You Are

The Casual Alchemist helps you figure out 

just what kinds of energies and activities you may need right now. 

Meditative, Active, Reflective?

Making is beyond art, commodity and even "creativity."

Making is a non-verbal way of exploring Regenerativity... 

--the recurring need to change Our Story, to refresh, reestablish ourselves and our places in our family and community. 

Making Helps


  • More skill at Changing The Story
  • Greater confidence with your personal aesthetic 
  • Better comfort with patience and solitude
  • Broader technical skills with common materials
  • Practicing the "good enough"
  • Better skills to participate in cooperative activities
  • Experiences with ambiguity, chance, digression, accident and distraction as positive forces
  • Develop new creative practices and Tool Kits 
  • You produce a new collection of images and objects 
  • You encounter new ways of thinking, poems, and other expressions of meaning
  • You will discover Others who share your interests, curiosities and concerns 

The Casual Alchemist: Events, Objects, FAQ

The Casual Alchemist



Another Description of 

The Casual Alchemist

A Project from 

Daniel Mack

Coming Events

August 2018

Befriending the Creative Unconscious

The Omega Institute

What The Book is about

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.   



What's new or special about this book?  

Its secular-spiritual quality is important. 

It is rooted in Mack’s 30-year study of Archetypal Psychology, Alchemy and Surrealism and his active research into contemporary forms. His 20 years teaching workshops at The Omega Institute has been important in field testing this approach to applied creativity as a practice of magic, not a Way.

It presents Six Needs we seem to have as humans and uses them as the bases for Making

Need for Awe and Wonder

Need for Stories

Need for Nature, Risk and The Feral  

Need for Making and Un-Making

Need for Community

Need for Healing and Regenerativity

Aren't there lots of books like this?

Spirituality and Crafts is not a new topic. It is quite an old topic.  The Casual Alchemist is a fresh weaving together of Jungian Archetypal Psychology, Making, Alchemy and Surrealism. 

It is about renewed creativity in everyday life.

Kinds of objects to Make

Mark-Making, Object-Making, Sculpture-Making.  

But the valence is off the object as commodity or even beauty and on a yet-unknown message held within the object. It's object-making a personal divination.   Making-in-Service   

You can choose how to make it work for you.

You can read the essays about the Lives of Things

You can get your tools and materials together and just start making, by yourself and with others.

You can browse the stories, poems and examples offered as inspiration

You can begin to find Your Clan of Makers: the recluses, outsiders, adventurers who have mapped territories you find familiar.


Daniel Mack??

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 tone is one of guided discovery, not formulas, believing that all people ARE born makers and can be invited into refreshing their own core capacities. It removes the veil of jargon, arcane terms and concepts, re-stating truths in accessible language, through stories of others, poems, quotes and casual activities.  The reader is invited to actively compose the experience appropriate to mood and concern and the pressing distractions of the day.

Your Influences?
Thomas Moore's The Care of the Soul was influential on me as a younger crafts person, encouraging the spiraling search beyond the object. The Casual Alchemist takes it into activity

Naomi Remen’s short, punchy article on the profound differences between helping, fixing or serving has had a lasting impact on my teaching and writing activities.  

Lewis Hyde’s two books, The Gift and The Trickster Makes the World, are key. He invigorates the idea of the object with a sacred importance and his Trickster work honors that part of us all that must destroy and rebuild the world around us.

This book, The Casual Alchemist, keenly aware of the truths Hyde has featured, teases out actual ways to respond to this. 

The same is true of the Jungian work on Alchemy and Archetypes. James Hillman is the key figure here. I am interested in integrating Hillman’s head and heart work with experiential hand activity.   

The Casual Alchemist is rooted in a Piaget approach to teaching/learning; it is about guided discovery. The purpose is to provide a wide enough menu and choice of thought, inspiration and technique that the reader is “kindled”. S/he starts learning. Joy, wonder, magic, play, accident and coincidence are all celebrated.

The book is in a reader format to allow entry at any point, trusting in the influence of chance and the moment. It does not require a argument or system to build itself. The reader must compose his/her own

The Casual Alchemist: Tools, Materials, Objects and Gifts

For the Laboratory


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

For The Quiet Place

Magical Decoys and Divine Allurements 

Since 2000, Daniel Mack has been carving, assembling, arranging many various natural materials into "Imaginal Tools", "Pocket Sculptures", "Spirit Figures"

Anima Bark Carvings        $100 each

Imaginal Tool Kits              $100 each

Stones/Eoliths                    $40 each

Rustic Reminders

Child's Rustic Chair    22" tall

very sturdy and barky               $450