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.