The new Bowie pendant is more than just a gorgeous fan piece...
The year was 2016. I was staying at a Buddhist center just north of New York City, running a retreat for the non-profit organization where I had worked for a decade. As was the case quite often at that time, I was heart sick: miserable in the job and far removed from a sense of self. In between sessions, I retreated to my room, clocked on my phone and read the news: David Bowie was dead.
David Bowie's Death: Blackstar and the Exploration of Mortality
He always did what he wanted to do. And he wanted to do it his way and he wanted to do it the best way. His death was not different from his life — a work of Art. He made Blackstar for us, his parting gift.
- Tony Visconti
Just a few days prior, Bowie's last studio album Blackstar was released. Like much of the world, I spent the days following his death simultaneously listening to that album and considering its significance, while also feeling gutted at the loss of such a brilliant artist.
What it came down to was this: I was absolutely mesmerized and humbled by Bowie's ability to not only make art while dying, but to focus the music itself on his own death. It was beautiful and courageous. It was like a musical meditation. I felt a fire ignite within me: I had to start living my life on my terms, and I was inspired to get my jewelry business more fully off the ground.
Fast forward to 2018. I have my son Julian, and I give him the middle name of Bowie. Then 2021. After a year of quarantine due to Covid, creating the Creative Pause with my collaborator Susan Padron, and boldly stepping into the world of watercolor painting, it felt like the right time to honor my inspiration and my path through a jewelry piece dedicated to the singer.
Bowie Art: The Making of a Music Inspired Pendant
The Bowie pendant is more than just a pretty charm, it is steeped in history and symbolism. On the front, a lightning bolt suspended in your choice of enamel color. On the back, a star with the tiny words of "Let's Dance." Like many final designs, it started off completely differently - as a pair of earrings and absent of a star! Let's break down the charm's symbolism.
Bowie's Personas and History: Aladdin Sane, Ziggy Stardust and Let's Dance
Aladdin Sane was Bowie's first commercially successful album. On the album's cover he dons one of the most iconic makeup looks in rock history (which appears almost as a death mask) - a red and blue lightning bolt that cuts across this face. It is said that the lightning bolt represented not only the end of Ziggy Stardust but also Bowie's conflicted relationship with the fame which was about to overtake his life.
A decade later Let's Dance was released, a pop confection that defined 1980's music. Let's Dance was Bowie's most successful album, with the title track topping the charts. One lyric within Let's Dance is "dance the blues," one I've often interpreted to mean get your body and mind moving when you're at your lowest point.
Memento Mori Jewelry in the Time of Covid: A Daily Reminder to Make Art of Your Life
During the most isolating months of Covid, I started a new practice with my family, one which reminded me to live and let go even amidst the most dire of circumstances: a daily dance party. Each day we would take a half hour or so to "put on (our) dancing shoes and dance the blues," filling the house with laughter and movement alongside music from across the decades. It was our own musical meditation, something that helped us shed the day's weight and connect back in.
It felt only fitting to finish of the Bowie pendant with "let's dance" on the back, a reminder to always make art and live life fully no matter what comes across your path.