Mal | | Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

This is not a blog about one particular medium or another. This is not an assembly line of amazing and flawless creations. This is not a business site designed to promote a book or a business or a product. This is a place for exploring, discussing, and considering the creative process — the power of making — and its place in modern life.

Collage Girl

  1. The Parts
  2. The Sum
  3. The Blog
  4. The Disclaimer

The Parts

  • 30-something female.
  • Living in a major city, against better judgment.
  • Would rather be living in a cottage in the woods, but what ya gonna do?
  • Single, looking. (You would not believe how hard it is to date when you’re a therapist.)
  • Yes, a therapist. License-eligible psychotherapist, nationally-certified Art Therapist.
  • Self-taught artist. Sometime musician. Always a writer.

The Sum

I used to keep an online diary, years before they were called blogs. I wrote in it faithfully from about 1999 to 2005, documenting my transformation from a ne’er-do-well into an artist, a grad student, and then an art therapist. I won several awards for that blog and made wonderful friends along the way. I got teaching gigs and art commissions from my online musings, and enjoyed the sense of community it generated.

But, becoming a therapist changed my perspective on confidentiality and I shut it all down when I finished my master’s program. I guess I was afraid that my clients would find the blog and that all hope of transference would be gone.

Transference. That’s biz talk. I’ll try not to do that.

Now I’m returning to the diary as a way to live more mindfully. I am at another transformative phase in my life, and want to document the changes that result from actively pondering simplicity, art-making, healing, nature, human kindness, the handmade revolution, the power of people, and magic. Yes, magic.

I’m interested in slow cloth, Craft 2.0, the Arts and Crafts movement, altruism, interrelatedness, happy accidents, and living as simply as possible. As one of those quirky folks who was born in the wrong century, I’m a little obsessed with the old-fashioned and the way it informs my relationship to the new-fangled. I go through phases when it comes to art media. Don’t be surprised if you find a crayon rubbing one day and an oil painting the next.

The Blog

The title of the blog comes from the lyrics of an old Shaker song called Simple Gifts. Its lyrics paint a good picture of what I’m trying to focus on in my life right now.

‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free,
‘Tis the gift to come down where you ought to be,
And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
‘Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
When true simplicity is gain’d,
To bow and to bend we shan’t be asham’d,
To turn, turn will be our delight,
Till by turning, turning we come round right.

The Disclaimer

As much as I would love to open my whole life into this journal, the realities and legalities of life as a therapist preclude me from doing so. What you will find on this blog is a very edited version of Mal, and no inferences or assumptions should be made based on what you read. The details will be unfailingly honest but somewhat incomplete out of respect for my professional obligations and personal values.

Do you know me? Are you my friend, family member, client, patient, student, lover, or neighbor? Please do me a favor and tell me that you’ve read this blog. It won’t change how I feel about you, I promise. In fact, it will probably open the door for some very neat dialogue between us.

Most importantly, I will never reveal information about my clients or patients on this blog. This blog is about me, not them, though I will take certain precautionary steps to ensure that my professional work is not impeded by my writing here. For instance, I’ll always wait at least a few weeks (and sometimes years) before posting any artwork of a personal nature. I spend all day trying to bring the healing power of art to the lives of other people; I think it’s only fair that I spend just as much energy trying to bring it to mine.

All of the content in this blog was generated by me unless attributed to someone else. You may not use or publish my words or images elsewhere without direct attribution. Thanks.

[In the interest of full disclosure, I may at some point choose to put ads on this blog to help pay for hosting and other costs. I bet you won't even notice.]


  1. Hi Mal…
    What a ‘variety’ you are! I enjoyed looking at your ‘stuff’ and certainly enjoyed the
    ‘About You’ portion.
    I love that you took the time to visit me and leave a wonderful comment. Come back
    often and so will I…!!!!

    Comment by belinda — 24 February 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  2. Hi Mal,
    Found you via Christine at A Simple Quilter and the wonderful mini hexies. I enjoyed many of the things you said in your About section and have always loved that Shaker song, having originally heard it sung by Judy Collins in the early 70′s.

    See you in blogland! :)

    Comment by Leslie — 12 March 2009 @ 7:01 am

  3. Hi Mal, thanks for your comments on my blog, I think sometimes you have to push out of your comfort zone and take a chance and the benefits for me have been that I feel more creative than ever and that I have met like minded people!

    Comment by Sarah Whittle — 15 April 2009 @ 2:37 pm

  4. Just read all of this and had to tell you that Simple Gifts is a favorite around here. We had a close friend sing it at our wedding in my parents’ backyard a few years ago.

    Now I’m curious about your ‘other’ blog and what big city you live in. Also wondering what type of therapy you practice – in a school or private – children or adults – etc.

    Looking forward to more conversations with you.

    Comment by Amy — 29 April 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  5. As an artist and teacher, I find your philosophical words very interesting. I came to you via Victoria and your folding methods but as I looked and read (which is amazing since I mostly look and minimally read blogs), I found a kinship in you words. I came from a family of creators. Why buy when you can make was my Dad’s philosophy. Both my sister and I make our living in the arts, she a potter and director/curator of a ceramic museum and me, a retired art teacher. I will add you to my list of blogs to follow and see what happens.

    Comment by Janet Lucas — 11 July 2009 @ 7:47 am

  6. [...] image courtesy of Mal from turning*turning.   Alfresco Sewing image courtesy of Laura of Bugs and Fishes by [...]

    Pingback by Sew,Mama,Sew! Blog » » Welcome to A Month of Hand Sewing — 3 August 2009 @ 8:01 am

  7. A friend referred me. Please come back! I’m on a similar road and would love some companions.

    Have you heard of the play called ‘Mal’ delivered through the Fringe Festival this year?

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    Comment by Linda — 26 July 2010 @ 8:44 am

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