While malas are far from a rarity in the makings of spiritual art I always try to put a special spin on anything I make...
For me I do not restrict myself to any material or shape for my malas, using both round beads as well as bead chips. When I make mine I also crochet the strands, and typically with it double stranded with wire and hemp. Originally the crocheting allowed for their to be some space between the bead chips to make them easier to count, but it soon became a staple among the ones I make.
Most of the time I try to let Spirit guide me with the choices of symbolism I relate to, but with Athena's mala a little academic research and communing with Her followers was involved.
Other strands have a more general focus or are less traditionally related to Pagan ways like with the two below (which are both for sale in my store at the moment of this posting.)
Then of course there is one of the latest malas I have made for the Cosmic Web Challenge (read more about that here and see submissions by other artists!) I knew the moment I heard what the theme was what I would be making - a mala dedicated to Aphrodite Pandemos, the epithet associated with Her and Her compassionate love for all. Sounded like the perfect thing to help open your heart chakra to compassion and love!