ANNIE OLSON

Grew up in Holland, Michigan. 

Learned to fly at Sweet 16. 

Married into and lived with the Tlingit Nation in Alaska. 

Commercial Salmon Fisherman. 

Worked with American Indians in Washington D.C.

Moved back to Holland in 1980. 

Graduate of Grand Valley State University - B.S. 1988

Mother of 3, Grandmother of 7, and Great-Grandmother of 2

Established Annie's Arc in 2001, which has transformed itself into Essence of the Spiral in 2020. 

AS A CHILD. . . . 

As a child, Nature was my Other Mother and the trees, rocks, and animals my siblings. From this relationship grew a desire for all beings on this blue-green orb to be at peace. As I have journeyed through life, this desire has in turn grown. 

And now at the age of 77 the desire is even greater. Out of this desire a hope arose that the One Who Created All Things is benevolent beyond all comprehension; that the paradox of the dark side is not a paradox at all, but a mystery that will someday be answered for all of us. 

Forming animals of clay is a profoundly spiritual experience for me. "Getting a little feel, how God must feel." As I form each animal, a bit of my soul enters that animal, and in turn a bit of the animal's soul enters mine. 

As a youngster, the only medium at my disposal was modeling clay. Soft and pliable but not preservable. My hands and soul had to wait 25 years for the invention of polymer clay which freed my hands to now bring forth, like children, the offspring of my soul. 

The polymer I use is man-made. The objects I form are God-made. And my artistic endeavor is a reflection of my reconciliation with man-made products to reproduce natural forms. I have learned to do things with this clay that cannot be done with natural clay, which allows my hands to reproduced Nature in brand new ways. 

It is my hope that the creations of my hand and soul will impart a bit of peace to you as they have to me. 

GUILTLESS SHELLS - A DIFFERENT WAY TO COLLECT. 

Years ago I took hundreds of live snails from the tidal flats of Florida - just for their shell homes. With the passage of time, wisdom came of what I'd done, along with regret, which gave way to forgiveness and from this fertile matrix these "Guiltless Shells" appeared as if by magic. 

For me, my Guiltless Shells are a paradox. Not quite natural yet not quite man-made. 

In 1991 a nudge came out of the blue. "Why don't you try to make a long spiraled seashell of your polymer clay?" It was winter and I sat on my couch watching my fire burning with some white polymer clay in my hand. I made a long cone and crudely found myself able to make my first Guiltless Shell. 

It was like learning again to play the violin that I had played as a child. Just as the first notes that come from my violin hurt the hears, so my first shells hurt my eyes. 

In January of 2001 I finally was able to express the color patterns of real marine snails. The rest, as they say, is history. 

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 © 2020 by Essence of the Spiral - Annie Olson.

Created by Robin Canfield www.rcanfield.com