Monday, February 18, 2013

Starlit birthday key

Completing circles is usually a very good thing and tends to bear even better things in their completion.  The circle of Sepia's key has been a bit of a triangulated puzzle.  Initially Hans Haveron painted "Sepia's Secret" which shares a deep truth about the creative process.  Then came his friend, Adam Lambert who was already well acquainted with Hans' work and owned a piece or two.  "Sepia" spoke to him and he purchased the other half of the "Keyhole series" and that painting hangs in his home today.

But Adam felt the need to keep the "Secret" with him all the time and chose the element of the key, which unlocks the Eye of Wisdom, to have inked into his forearm.  This drew the attention of another friend of Hans', Shannon Shiang, jewelry designer from New York City.  Shannon had already taken another element of one of  Haveron's works, the scarab, and replicated it in three dimensions of bronze.  Seeing the key separated from the painting she was inspired to turn it into an actual key.  She would bring a number of samples of Sepia's key with her to Burning Man to show Hans and Adam in 2011. One of the prototypes was gifted to Adam's boyfriend, Sauli Koskinen.

When I last visited Shannon in her studio, the evening that Adam's sophomore album "Trespassing" dropped, she showed me a very large version of Sepia's key cast in sterling silver that she hoped to gift to Lambert at some point.

Enter the "Starlighters".  This fan group formed in 2009 after the launch of Adam's official website.  They were people who wished to dedicate themselves to helping keep Lambert's brand new star shining brightly in the sky of current pop/rock music.  These fans are at the forefront of requesting airplay of Adam's music, voting in various media contests and sharing their love of Adam and his music with as many people as possible.

As with many individual fans and fan groups, Starlighters have participated in the annual charity giving that Lambert initiated on his 28th birthday.  Over the past three years Adam has asked fans to donate to Donors Choose and Charity Water in lieu of sending him gifts.  Besides spotlighting charities for his birthday Lambert has also been a supporter of The Trevor Project and Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Foundation.  This year's birthday gifts went to an organization founded by a man who became part of Adam's career almost by accident.  Lambert got his fanbase behind Nile Rodger's "We Are Family Foundation" which encourages youth and young adults to help their peers and children.  Starlighters added their donations to those of all the other fans in the attempt to raise $31,000 for WAFF (at last count the total was over $45,000).

But this fan group wanted to do something else special to show their love for Adam, something with a lot of symbolism.  The discussion started in October of last year.  Carter Setterlund, who became the coordinator of the project, suggested going to Shannon and Hans about the creation of a special version of Sepia's Key and then contacted Shannon about the project.  Shannon suggested the large silver key along with making it extra-special by adding precious stones to the design.  Further conversation between the two resulted in using the lyric "Stars in my black and blue skies" from the song "Underneath" on Adam's latest album and selecting white and black diamonds and sapphires.
From there Shannon and Carter went into action to spread the word and raise the funds for the project, all on the q.t.  They wanted this to be a complete surprise to Adam.  Everyone was told not to post things on social networks or public message boards.  Communication was done via emails, private messages and by phone.  Shannon reached out to customers of Skins & Stones who had previously ordered keys.  Starlighters communicated with all their members.  Eventually, they not only raised money, some members also donated actual stones for the pendant.

Meanwhile Hans created the special casket the key would be boxed in.  The fan group also put together a "birthday book" filled with letter and messages that was compiled by Carter and has gorgeous cover art done by Lucas Vitek.

Then came the final stage of the project-actually delivering the key and the book to Adam.  The hope was to do so before Adam left for his 6-week Asian/European tour last week.  Again, Hans and Shannon were called into action.  Everything ended up coming to down to wire.  So close in fact that the gift was delivered at LAX while Adam was waiting to board his flight to Seoul, South Korea.  Shannon had flown in from New York and Hans delayed his trip to Texas.  Thankfully all the Powers of Light were watching over this process and the key and book were successfully delivered and Adam was totally surprised.  According to my own conversation with Hans, Adam loved the gift and Shannon told Carter that Adam was really moved by the sentiment and symbolism of the gift and noted how sweet all involved truly are.

Adam showed his appreciation to everyone who is a part of this gift by wearing the key at his first concert of the Asian leg of this tour in Seoul, South Korea.  Below are photos shot by one of the people at this performance.  This morning he tweeted, "Special thanks to @Skinsandstones and all the fans who chipped in for the ferocious skeleton key necklace!! I LOVE it!!!".

I want to sincerely thank Carter, Shannon and Hans for working with me and helping to share this story.

For more information on Shannon Shiang's organic Skins & Stones line visit . There is an on-line store at the site where you can purchase various versions of Sepia's key along with all her other current work in this line.  Shannon has another line, Shiang New York.  These pieces are very unique and sophisticated and are also available for purchase. Hans Haveron's work can be reviewed at  Lovely archival Glicee prints of some of his paintings can be purchased at Fine Art Direct.  Haveron is preparing for the gallery show "Raven's Riddle" which will be his and father, Bill Haveron's first ever father-son show at the Kirk Hopper Gallery in Dallas, TX.  The show opens March 2 and runs through April 13th.


  1. This is the first I've heard of Adam's Starlighters. I'm so impressed by fans who have selflessly done so much to support Adam. Your story is really touching. I'd wondered where Sauli got the skeleton key pendant he wore at Burning Man! Here are closer views of the spectacular birthday pendant:

  2. Louise aka @cruzin_mtn_bertFebruary 18, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    Hi - Just adding that although I'm not a Starlighter per se, I did contribute a few diamonds to the project, plus a larger sapphire inlaid at the tip of the shank. The stones have had a history with my family, and I'm honored to pass them along for a new lease on life...with Adam.

    I was lucky enough to see the almost finished key when I went to NYC for the WAFF event. Shannon offered to let me come see it at her home/studio. Such a treat! She's such a sweetie.

  3. I would have loved so much to contribute to this gift. I can't believe I didn't know about it being soooo active on Facebook, AO and Twitter. Is it too late to make a donation?

    1. mateseeker, you can contact Carter at regarding subsequent donations. If your read the story, this was not out for public viewing on social networks as they wanted to completely surprise Adam which they were successful in doing. :)

  4. I also would have loved to be part of this beautiful gift. As an "OG Glambert, a steady supporter, an active contributor to Adam's charities, I have been a part of a number of similar conspiracies. I totally understand the need for secrecy to pull this off, and I admire your huge effort. I wish there could have been a way to include people like me, but I am thrilled that Adam is thrilled.
    If there is a way to contribute, I will do it. For sure, I will support every effort that makes Adam happy and let's him know how much he is loved.

  5. Just for the record..........There are tons of Adam fans who never heard of the Starlighters..
    who work hard in voting and buying and helping Adam...............
    We support him every bit as much as this group who supposedly are the ones who do the most
    ...... They might THINK they are the head ones........but it isn't true.
    Sorry but WE ALL LOVE AND SUPPORT HIM..........

    1. I'm sorry you missed the point of this story. Please read through this blog. It is not about Adam but about the artisans of "The Tribes" who create, mentor, encourage, collaborate and contribute to the evolution of culture, society and community through art, charity and education. This story was mainly to spotlight the journey of "Sepia's Key" and the people of that journey. Adam Lambert just happens to be the person this key "belongs" to from his purchase of the original painting, to inspiring Shannon to fashion it into a real key and having it made a permanent part of himself. Hans has created many keys that have or will find their homes eventually. Please do not make this place one of strife and negative energy. Understand that it is where you can come to find real art and the real artists who create it. Come here to be inspired, find peace, joy, compassion, and wisdom. Thank you.

  6. Fortunately I could be a part of it even I'm Japanese & live in Japan. Adam has been in Japan for his WAG Tour & I went to 3 shows in Tokyo last week. Then I could see the Key Adam's wearing in my own eyes. My seat weren't great even though it's so beautifully shining!! I was very proud & very happy to see it. The gorgeousness of Adam & the Key matched perfectlly.
    I'd like to say thank you to Carter, Hans, Shannon, Lucas and all people who were involved in for giving me this great opportunity.
    Also I'd like to apologize in advance if my comment missed a point or my English wasn't correct.

  7. Adam is the perfect person to personify this beautiful,inspirational key. Altho' I would have loved to contribute, if I had known, I'm happy that Adam was surprised and honored with this meaningful gift. I hope when he wears it he will always feel the love and positive energy surrounding him by his fans and he will continue to pass on that love and energy that is such a big part of his giving spirit. I have the silver key that for me symbolizes unlocking the secret of the universe, which is love in it's most basic, purest form and why we were created in the first learn it's true meaning.