Daniel Mack

The Poetics of Making

is a book I've been working on for 20 years

*about the creative process and common natural materials.

*about learning about human nature from nature

*about "ordinary creativity"-- that energy we all have and use to make our lives everyday. 

* the result of working with trees for 30 years. 

* an exploration of the needs, costs and benefits of tendencies we all have towards expressing the ungovernable, the untoward and the contrary parts of ourselves. But it is not just about the maker. It's an attitude towards the making of objects... Or perhaps, it's learning  that objects get themselves made through us. Objects "matter" themselves into existence through humans and that there are old ways that effect this.  Some call them "archetypes."

He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.
- St. Francis of Assisi


The Wayward Artist is the book's central character.  S/he's the artist-in-residence in us all. S/he must make.S/he makes things, dinner, his way, appointments, deals and trouble. What s/he makes are imaginal artifacts.        Hmmm, gender differences?

It's taken me years to figure some of this out.A miniature chair incorporating antique tools  Every so often, tucked in between sets of chairs, beds and tables, I'd find myself making something "else". Something that wasn't really a chair or a table. After years of "elses", I began to see certain patterns and themes in these objects.

What's "Wayward"?

short for awayward, turned away, from away

following one's own capricious, wanton, or depraved inclinations : UNGOVERNABLE

"a wayward child"

following no clear principle or law UNPREDICTABLE

opposite to what is desired or expected UNTOWARD " wayward fate"            

Synonym: positively, pleasantly contrary    

         Three figures carved out of bark

an example of mattering

Since 2004, pieces of bark from the Hudson River have been mattering their ways through me and my studio. I forage for them, carve them and arrange them. There are now hundreds...


What I seem to now about them is that they have something to say about the many aspects of our s'elves: some preferred, some hidden away, all with influence. At the moment, Anima, is the word associated with them.

There's also something about the Croning time of life.

another example of mattering: Totem animals have appeared

The Wayward Artist is the central character in my ongoing Creative Workbook: Mindful Making. It is about the workings of imagination and creativity and about making things. It's about the "'how" of making, but it's really more about the why and what of making. It's about ways of seeing, ways of being and ways of doing and the changing mix of all three. This means that there is no first way, best way or one way.It'sd about finding the Ways-of-the-Moment into a other parts of our s'elves.  Here are a few dozen such ways. I am now writing this material on-line. I did not create or invent any of the ideas I'm collecting and writing about... I am just another elocution of these realities. 


Samples from The Poetics of Making