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NASTASIA gendreau

Willemstad – Curacao

Working with Nastasia was a long wish coming true. We met almost 10 years ago when she was my manager in a restaurant in the city.
At that moment I was starting with Lennebelle as a hobby, fulfilling my creative passion for creating.
 
At first I had to figure it all out on my own but soon I found out Nastasia was a goldsmith
so she could tell me more about precious metals and (semi) gemstones.
In the years following we helped out each other, Nastasia helped me with practical information
and I helped her with the more commercial part of this ‘job’.
 
Nastasia even was a model for Lennebelle once! She moved to Curacou and is running a jewelry shop
and goldsmith atelier and is creating her own beautiful pieces for her brand Izao.
I love her unique style, you can instantly see it is an Izao piece.
The gemstone collection was our first collaboration but I am pretty sure there will be more in the future. 
When started your love for jewelry and when/how did you decide to become a goldsmith?
My love for jewelry started as a child. I made necklaces from sea shells or anything I could find. A little later, as a teenager, I started experimenting with fimo clay, with this material I could be as creative as I wanted to, using bright colors and bold shapes. People begun to ask me for custom made pieces, I dindn’t know back then I would make my living from it! When I turned 17 I had to choose for a high school, I wasn’t aware there was a goldsmithing one. When I found out I had no doubt this was my destiny…
 
Tell is us a bit how you became a goldsmith and what did you do to get where you are now?
I studied for 4 years at the goldsmithing school in Holland, Schoonhoven between 2004 & 2008. I did 2 internships, one in Rotterdam, mostly reparations, and one in Paris with an artist jewelry maker. After my study, I moved to Bali to work in a jewelry production compagny as a designer for a little while. When I came back to Europe in 2009 the economic crisis had begun. I had left everything behind and needed to work so I left jewelry making aside for some years. Slowly I created a little studio in my living room and started making my first collection under the name of Izao. In 2014 I moved to Curacao in the Caribbean, at that point I knew I wouldn’t do anything else but making jewelry. I work in a studio on the island, mostly doing repairs and bespoke jewelry and in my spare time, I’m working on new pieces for Izao.
What is your ‘signature’ when it comes to your own jewelry for Izao?
I think there are some different things, but mostly the bright colors of the gems, the mix of silver and gold, a balance between fine and bold jewelry, and definitely one of a kind.
 
What was your favorite job/assignment so far?
What I like the most is letting my imagination flow and creating from within. Picking up a gemstone and make what comes in my mind without worrying about fashion, just making what I desire.
How was it to do a collaboration for Lennebelle and what is your favorite piece of jewelry from this collection?
I know Lenneke from Lennebelle for years now and I wanted to work with her on a project for a long time. We work both very different ways, I would, for example, pick up a gemstone and start a piece of jewelry from there. Lenneke is very organized, has a concept in mind and will start from there. Over the years she advised me so many times! So it was great to finally create something together, with both our viewpoints and experiences.
I think my favorite piece is the „patience“ bracelet. It’s the color combination that speaks the most to me but I definitely love the whole collection! 
 
What’s the best advice you have gotten and what’s the best advice you can give considering your work?
Well, there are so many good pieces of advice, but most of all, in jewelry making and in life, what I truly had to learn was to have patience. I would get super excited when a piece was almost done and for no good reason, I would race to finish it to see the end result. It ended many times in a disaster. You need patience throughout the whole process, until the end, and the satisfaction you get from a perfectly finished jewelry item is for me one of the best feelings in the world!

In collaboration with Lennebelle Jewely, Nastasia made the jewelry for the Gemstone Collection