Sea shell favors for Citigroup

                                    950 seashell

December 21, 2015.  Today Andrew and Matthew, my grandsons began to help me prep the clay to make the shells.


                                     May 27, 2016

I lot of tides have come and gone since the 21st of December. If I remember right, there are 950 people attending a three day gala sponsored by Citigroup for their most outstanding employees.........chosen I was told by your co-workers.   Right now in Miami beach, Florida.

I had intended to write a journal of the process for you all to read but it is only now that I'm finally finding time and energy to express the experience for you.

First, I want to thank the powers that be of Citigroup for going with the art I create.   Especially Dana, for taking the risk of going with an unknown artist in her 70's.   I can't thank you enough.   And I hope to create a fitting artwork for your headquarters. 

Also Ellen, the event planner for putting herself and her reputation on the line to promote my art and the message it carries   And dear Valerie, for all her encouragement.   

This has been a wonderful time for me!   Permission, so to speak, to make more shells.   I LOVE forming these spiral discs.   I've been doing this for 25 years now and my grandchildren have grown up with them.   So often, they would say to me, "More shells?"   Andrew made his first shell when he was only a year old.   I remember his fascination with the colors that came together as he rolled the clay forward.   How attuned he was at so young an age to color and form.   We are hard-wired for ART it seems.

So this winter, I along with Juantia, Arlene, Bea, Areanna, Diane, Kim, Andrew, Matthew, Kathryn (their Mom) Phil(my husband) and others working with me brought forth these multi-colored shells for each of you.   As we worked, you became real for us.   We talked often of wondering who you were, why you were chosen, etc.    So today as I type this, I am also communicating their thoughts along with mine.   We found this a very unifiying experience.

When I was contacted in November of last year about maybe doing this project for Citigroup, I went to your website right away to find out about the philosophy of this influential company.    I was pleased to read about the work on racial and religious diversity.    Reading my bio, you can quickly see how this fits with me.  

Now I need to express my gratitude to The Creator, The Unknown Essence that has created and sustains this most beautiful world we all call home.    And gratitude also to Mother Earth and Her Snails( my totem animal) that have guided me throughout my life.    

A special thanks I owe deeply to The Wisdom of the American Indian People.    In October of 1987,   This Wisdom woke me up creating awareness that killing live snails for their shell homes just for my pleasure was wrong.    If this had not happened, I never would have had the urge to make shells of clay instead.   I suspect each of you also have had epiphanies that have been transforming.

It is my hope that my art being known publicly will generate interest in the shells.   I am right now working closely with Black Elk's great-great grandson Myron Poitier who lives on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation on the issue of employment for his People.   Employment and development that fits for them and their culture.   One of the things that comers to mind is Fair Trade stores (brick and mortar and on line).  One of the lines I sense, are natural forms created from man-made materials.   Allowing for a kind of reconciliation for Indigenous People-bringing these opposites together in a harmonious way.   What my shells themselves are all about too.

So this project creating these 950 shells has been powerful for me...........generating ideas that I hope will lead to real solutions.   Solutions that this elder woman aches to humbly offer for what ever they are worth.  


Posted by Annie Olson on December 28, 2015. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Cordova,The Oil Spill

Two days ago Allyson, my granddaughter turned 25.  And the next day The Oil Spill turned 25.   Only hours separate them.  


Posted by Annie Olson on March 25, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Sara-Saga of my cobra poem

For any of you new to my musings, I need to bring you up to date.

In late January I had the chance to present my art for review with a local art co-op that has a store in Saugatuck.  I gathered up all sorts of things to show Jo, one of the members on the board.   Prints, clay, finished art and samples of my writing.  I went into my studio and got out the original of the cobra poem I wrote that speaks for me about my relationship with the animal and the clay.   Soul unity for lack of a better term.

I was thrilled!  To read the first, second, third and then finished poem.  And words I'd written before I even started the poem.   "I am sculpted by the sculpture I sculpt."  I decided to take it and read these words to her so she could grasp better my art.   I remember being very cautious about doing this.  "I must not lose this; it speaks for all my art!"

When I left her home, the snow had started.   The snow that has made this winter about the worst our country has had.   A note here:  This is March 13, 2014 and we still have lots and lots of snow.   And it was almost zero last night!   Need I say more.  When I got home I had snow to deal with.   For days and days!

A week (Jan 30) later I went to get the poem out to finally write what I'd wanted to express on January 22.   I went to where I thought I'd left it.


Yes, I really scared!   Where is it? 

I searched and I searched and I searched!   I'm 70 and I know this common for us seniors.  But to misplace my precious poem was devastating.  I know all about not being attached to physical things.   But this was the expression of my soul in written form.

Well, not to keep you hanging.   I found it on Feb. 27th.  Almost a whole month apart.

So I can now post the poem itself and allow it to speak for myself and the animals that have joined my soul.

Cobra Consciouness

Posted by Annie Olson on March 13, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Guiltless Shell story Last day of the show 2001

This is Saturday March 8, 2014.   The last day of the Shell Fair on Sanibel Island.

I'm sitting here in our garden/reading room looking northwest.   It's sunny out.  About 35 degrees.   We went downtown for a cup of coffee and hot chocolate.   My Mom is sitting on the couch a few feet away reading a book about the secret life of elephants.  We're going to get a pizza in a little while.

Oh, how I wish I were there!

I hope you have enjoyed this flight with me.   The story of how the shells came into being.   What they mean to me.   And these past three days have been a riot.

We all hear the concept of having a bucket list.  And I mentioned that before.   Now maybe it really makes sense to you.   After being here with me, like a feather on my shoulder.

Most things on a bucket list we won't do and ones we'll experience, we never would have considered.   Like today for all of us who serve a great breakfast at the Seminary would say this.  We never would have thought it would be one of the highlights of our lives as a group.

It was a Sunday.   The show went for 4 days back then.   It was warm.  And we all were so relaxed with each other.   Knowing we wouldn't see each other again until next year.

It began to get dark in the early afternoon and we knew a storm was brewing.   And we also knew we'd have to pack up our exhibits and carry them across the street to the parking lot in the rain.

I will never forget what it was like for me!

If you saw me, you'd see a slender "white" woman, brown hair, fifty-ish.  Acting like a five year old!

Remember when I began the story, telling you how my relationship with shells began right here.   Well, life has come full circle!   I'm five years old again!

I packed up all my stuff and began to haul it to my mini van .  That van I didn't want to drive.    And I remember the puddle of mud!   Blue Mud!

You haven't lived until you've been able to splash with your bare feety in a Blue Mud Puddle!

The calcium carbonate of the pulverized shells that compose the soil of Sanibel create this lovely mud!

There's a movie I love.   People Will Talk.  Cary Grant and Jean Simmons.  One scene has Cary Grant, Walter Slazk and upstairs.  With model train sets all over the floor.   The three grown men in their 40's and 50's and 60's are running their respective trains from different bedrooms.   Each has a different beep beep.   And they get mixed up and the three trains into each other in the hallway.   And the argument that ensues is hilarious!   Three young boys in the bodies of older men!   And Jean Simmons remark to Cary Grant, her movie husband.   In tears she says,   "You're only 8 years old".

Well, that's what my friends all said to me that day.   Watching me get soaked and enjoying every minute of it!   Creating these shells, being allowed in the show, making so many good friends and experiencing four days of magic.   That is what they were seeing!

I'd come full circle.   I really was 5 years old!







Posted by Annie Olson on March 08, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Sara-Guiltless Shell Story-Intro. 3/4/14

                                      Introduction to the Guiltless Shell Story

This is Tuesday! March 4, 2014.

All the people exhibiting in the Sanibel-Captiva Shell Fair are setting up their displays.  How I wish I were there!   Maybe next year.  With this book in hand ready to go public.


It was a Tuesday, the day I left for Sanibel Island to exhibit my Guiltless Shells in theShell Fair.  I was preparing to go all alone.   Phil, my husband, had to work.   There was no way he could take time off and go with me.   I was so grateful to him for supporting my going.

That was 13 years ago!  2001.

The whole experience was PURE MAGIC!

A lot of things have happened since that first Shell Fair.

In July of that year, I was diagnosed with cancer.  I wasn't well enough to return for the 2002 Fair.   But I was able to exhibit in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 Sanibal-Captiva Shell Fairs.  Lots of other big events.  Graduations, marriages, birth of grandchildren, watching grandchildren grow up, decline and dead of Phil's Mom and my Pop October 2010 and January 2011.  Phil got cancer too.  My Mom whose 95 now moved in with us a year ago.  Started Pancakes R Us with a group of Interfaith friends, a Saturday breakfast for people in need.  So lots of good and hard things.  Nothing unusual about all this.   Except my ache to write the story of my

I don't know who you are who will read the very words I type right now.  But you are real people.   Some of you young, some of you old and a whole bunch of you in between.  Men and women, children, all sorts of creeds and cultures.  Each of you is real to me as I express these thoughts. 












Posted by Annie Olson on March 04, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Annie's Mernagerie----King Cobra

Quote on Miniature Art I found January 9,2014 written by Marty Munson 1992 for Miniature Artists of San Fransisco

"The range is impressive, but on closer inspection the winners are always the same.....they hold up under the harsh eye of the magnifying glass; they bridge the paradox of being balanced but dynamic; the use of size not as a restriction but as an intimate area for experiment.....they have spirit...they go beyond the visual facts to show you the significance of the subject."

Exhibition judge commenting about miniature art.  On the website of   Wes & Rachelle Siegrist   

It's an odd animal for me to pick as my representative for the wildlife creations I find myself birthing of polymer clay.   But I didn't choose the King Cobra on purpose.   The poem Cobra Consciousness decided that for me.

Posted by Annie Olson on February 12, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Cobra Consciousness Feb. 11,2014

cobra, clay sculpture, sculpture, polymer clayPhil and I have a routine that we follow each morning.   As I suspect most couples have.  Since we're "retired" now, we usually get up about 7 each morning.   Except for Sat. which is a painful 6 am.   Wait until you're in your 70''ll understand.

We turn on the coffee maker; Phil goes upstairs to check email; I go and get the paper.  There's the teeth brushing etc. and then we meet at the kitchen table to have coffee and read the paper.

I need to confess that we don't read our prayers until we're done with the paper.  We're working on that.   I'll keep you informed of how we're doing.   

First we read the news and I check the obits.   I grew up here in Holland and being 70 I know that is a part of this season of my life.  

Then we get the comic section out which holds the Suduko and Crossword Puzzle.  There's also the cryptoquote which we don't do.  We aren't good at it but I LOVE quote so I always read it before we go on.

Today I read these words.    "There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you."   Maya Angelou

That is me!

I know what needs to be said.   I can write the physical words but the thoughts of my soul don't flow as easily.   I think that is what Maya was getting at.

So can you understand how painful it was for me to type words on the srceen that I realized were soul thoughts.  And then lose them!

Yes, I just saved these words.

Got to go and check on  my Mom.   Be right back.  Oh, she just moved into the other chair.

This is the 11th of Feb.  I put mt art into the store on the first of Feb.  I came home from Jo's home to show her my art.  It was Monday Jan. 27.   I went into the file I keep all the writing in that I did 20 years ago.   Precious to me!   I got the folder out for the poem Cobra Consciousness.   I hadn't looked at the file since I wrote it 21 years ago!

At the top were these words.   as I sculpt the cobra, I am being sculpted.............something like that but better!

I remember thinking, this is real important!   This physical file.   I can't lose it!  

I took it with me and read that to Jo.   Showed her the cobra of clay.   And came home.  The snow was starting.   It got real bad!  I remember thinking when I came home to use the poem and cobra to explain the animals I make.   About being sculpted by that which I sculpt.  I looked forward to doing this.   But this big snow event hit.   What hit Atlanta.   So it wasn't until the weekend I realized I'd misplaced the file and a lot of other items along with it.

I've searched high and low!  All over the place.   I've found a lot of other things. 

Just think about it with me!   I loss the very thing I was so afraid to lose.

I don't write this alone.   There is my muse too.  My inner being.   All who write, or compose music or paint.   Or any other creative activity know what I'm talking about.  This isn't new for me.   Something I'm very aware of.   But very hard at times.   Asking my inner muse, what is this all about?

Now does it make a bit more sense why losing the text I was trying to enter on lose itself of this file was so infuriating for me!

I'll close here and now write about the poem itself without the pain of this lose.









Posted by Annie Olson on February 11, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Chance meeting of two Alaskans Feb.11, 2014

I didn't want to go.   I've got so many things that need doing.   But Phil likes me to come along when he picks up food for the Saturday breakfast we do.  So I went along and when we got to Hungry For Christ, I went into the office because the warehouse is cold.

I got myself a cup of coffee and sat down.  And in blows Carla with some Monkey Bread someone had made for the volunteers.  She invited me to have a piece and we did introductions.  Small talk.  Then I said I'd escaped from Holland over fifty years ago.    She asked where to.  And I said Alaska.

Surprise, surprise.  For us both.   She and her husband had lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for four years back in the eighties I think.   So cool for the two of us to meet!  Figuretivly, of course!

For the next 15 minutes we shared about this state we both love.

Hungry For Christ is a food distribution place we come to get donated food to prepare and serve at our Sat. breakfast.   Pancakes R Us is what we call ourselves.  So I told her to go to my musings and I'd write about our fun meeting.

So Hi Carla...............have a good day and look forward to talking more.



Posted by Annie Olson on February 11, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

cobra consciousness a third time

I just typed a short sentence.  the words were about not being able to write anymore text.  I tried to save this and it didn't save.  I'll try again.
Posted by Annie Olson on January 30, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc

Saugatuck co-op accepted

The Saugatuck Art Co-op has accepted the art I do.   I think it will be a good fit.
Posted by Annie Olson on January 24, 2014. Continue ReadingAnnie's Arc