Annie Olson

"Artist Musings"

Come into my shell with me! My "Artist Musings" will give you an insight into my inner workings and why I create these faux shells and other works of art.



When I was 12 years old, I had access to large mounds of fresh sand that had been dug from the ground in order to build our new home only five minutes from here.

My husband Phil and I live in a condo off West 32nd St. in Holland, Michigan. Close to Lake Michigan, so there’s lots of sand hidden below.

So what would a 12 year old girl, between childhood and the pull of adolescent do with all these beige grains.

Make trails, of course!

I have always loved trails, so it was so much fun to stamp my feet into the soft sand to make trails up and around those piles. My own miniature mountain in our future front yard.

So what’s that got to do with these two Great Horned Owl chicks?

As you can see by the photos I took Sunday morning, there is an owlet in front of our front door and another below a large pine tree close to our condo. This is really the beginnning of the story, that is like a trail I’m on with a number of other people who joined me Sunday morning. A trail we’re still on. And a trek I invite whoever want to, to join us. A spiritual as well as a physical journey.

So this is the story of this Owl Family too. At the same time.

It started on Saturday, when the two of them found themselves on the ground. Their nest we surmise destroyed by strong winds. On the asphalt pavement with no where to go. Obviously the parents were unable to help them to safety. Instinct instead, like a parent, seems to have guided them to a safe place.

Monday, after all the excitement that I’ll relate tomorrow, I felt drawn to look around. And what I discovered was a trail! Every 2 feet, a half dollar sized white chalk-like circle. A poop trail. Strange it was then and was this morning again for me. Almost seeing them crawling with much struggle out of the road and the onto the grass and then back onto our asphalt driveway. There must be at least twenty chalk white circles that finally end in front of our garage close to the front door. I took many photos but I’d need a drone to go above so you could see their trek over alien material.

I realize this may be hard to grasp. But please bare with me as I attempt to relate the feel of this path we’re on. As I said, tomorrow I will share the details in a more orderly manner. But I’m so taken by their chalk white trail, I needed to start there.

By the way, as most of you know, I sculpt with polymer clay. One of my favorite animals is The Owl. So I will be posting photos with the story of how I form an owl. Step by step. Just like the trail we’re on together today.

Annie Olson

April 14, 2021

The other day, thanks to all this modern technology, I was able to see and talk to my great granddaughter Lorna up in Alaska yesterday. FaceTime! Who would have known we’d be able to do this? She’s not quite 4 years old. About the same age I was when I sat in that soft, comfortable chair in my bedroom untangling my shoe laces.

So it made sense to tell Lorna about a story of what I when I was her age. I started with asking her if she knew what shoe laces were. I’m asking her this as she carries her mom’s iPhone all over the place. I see Hemingway, their cat with multiple toes just like the cats in Key West. Descendants of Earnest Hemingway, the writer. Writer of one of my favorites. The Old Man and the Sea.

I didn’t think she was hearing me. Lorna is a very open and talkative child, so I was surprised when she said to me. “We’re going downstairs to my bedroom.”

Now, I gotta tell ya! It’s an interesting thing to find yourself “riding” a iPhone when Facetime is on with a almost four year old controlling the reins. I try not to get dizzy but enjoying the guided tour.

At first, it isn’t clear to me why Lorna brought us downstairs. But then she brings out her book. With the title, “Tangled”.

Now realize, I try to keep up with my children, grandchildren and greats. But so much to remember. I’d vaguely heard about this movie done by Disney eleven years ago. But I hadn’t made the association with myself and my love of tangled shoe strings over 70 years ago.

Quickly I realized that Laura had been listening to me! Listening well! To what I was relating to her.

The Internet is amazing! I looked up when Disney released it. The story line. That it was a retelling of a Grimms Brothers story of Rapunzel. (I am not a very good speller and I chuckle of how good the logarithm is to guess what I’m trying to spell). I won’t bore you with how poorly I tried to spell her name.

This all began with me sitting in a chair long ago untangling knots. Which led to the King and I movie. And then the Puzzlement song. Much more to say on that later. But for now, a lighthearted window in a bit of our family life. And modern ways to keep in touch.

Annie Olson (Pink Eagle)

I can still “see myself” sitting in a stuffed chair in my tiny bedroom. My folks had the big bedroom and my grandma had the other large one.

I was probably only four or five. This was way before Velcro. ( In fact, Velcro was a word in our crossword puzzle today. ) So in order to hold shoes on kiddy feet, shoestrings were used. And like any good strings, they knew their job was to become a tangle of knots to fascinate a child like myself.

I just loved to curl up in that soft friendly chair. I look down at my shoes and find my fingers and eyes invited into the puzzle below.

At the time, I was way too young to ponder why I loved this activity. But now over 70 years later, I have no problem answering the why.

I seem to have been born with a desire to solve dilemmas, enigmas and such. Taking great pleasure in attempting to solve the unsolvable.

So of course I am well aware of The Gordian Knot and Alexander The Great. Of Alexander solving the puzzlement by destroying It.

To solve it, he had to kill it.

He used his sword to cut all entangled strands into pieces. I’m reminded of Humpty Dumpty and all the king’s men unable to put him back together again.

Now this is only a story. So I have no idea if it is true of The Great Alexander. But this gives a window into me. The deeper me.

I close with a suggestion. Go to YouTube and put in The King and I and Yul Brynner singing the song "It’s a puzzlement."

A song I heard when I was young watching the movie The King and I. One of my favorites.

How I see our world. A Puzzlement.

Pink Eagle (Annie Olson)

 © 2020 by Essence of the Spiral - Annie Olson.

Created by Robin Canfield