Volgodonsk is unlikely to be on many travel bucket lists; a Russian city located on the Tsimlyansk Reservoir, where the nearby nuclear plant is a local employer. This town is where Canadian artist and rising star jeweller Anastassia Selezneva was born.
Anastassia Selezneva emigrated to Toronto, with her parents, when she was nine years old. Artistic activities occupied after-school hours and much of her Canadian childhood. She explains that she had limited time to “hang-out” as she experimented with ballet, piano and visual arts. Selezneva attributes these touchpoints with creative circles to her desire to attend the Etobicoke School of the Arts.
However, Selezneva says that her journey to jewellery production began as an artistic outlet
“I started to fiddle and experiment with jewellery in November 2012. Wire wrapping, learning about stones, their properties, and teaching myself how to solder. I needed a creative outlet and my finance job was not giving me that.”
Her practical business degree, from York University (Toronto) a safe choice, but one that did not fulfil her artistic needs. Selezneva’s diversion with jewellery has led her to global fashion centres;
“Anastassia has created ‘haute couture,’ one-of-a-kind works for Toronto, Milan and New York Fashion Week runway shows.”
“This program is intensive and not for everyone. It has very high expectations. To succeed in this program, you need to have patience and dedication to the craft. The one-year program that I took, gave me a solid foundation of the different aspects of the jewellery industry such as goldsmithing, surface finishing, gemology and technical drawing.”
Why did you move towards jewellery from other creative directions?
I remember always going through my grandma’s jewellery box and having a wild fascination with how much beauty it holds and how different jewellery can be. I think my inspiration for jewellery design came at a very early age, but it took some time to blossom into something concrete. Looking back, I cannot pinpoint the exact moment when I decided I will be a jewellery designer. It just happened naturally.
Can you explain how you choose a stone for one of your pieces?
I have always gravitated towards rough stones. I love nature and looking at raw, rough, organic forms brings me closer to it. Ideally, in my comfort zone, all of my pieces would have rough stones. However, as a designer, I have to be versatile and appeal to various clients. If I were to choose my favourite stones, it would be black kyanite and rainbow moonstone. They are polar opposites. Kyanite is rough and dark, and moonstone is light, airy and smooth. When I design, I let the materials talk to me. It depends on the piece, but I typically start my design from the stone and create the piece around it.
You work with recycled 14K gold and sterling silver. Can you share your sustainability philosophy as it relates to jewellery?
The way I see it is we as a society need to learn to reuse the resources we have to create a sustainable environment. Resources are finite, and we have to be conscious of how we recover and use it.
How do you find the inspiration for your pieces?
Nature is a big part of my inspiration. The freedom that comes with the natural environment. The place that we are whole, authentic and small. In urban areas we have titles and hierarchies, in nature, we are one. Mortal. Finite.
What do you want someone to “feel” when they are wearing one of your pieces?
Empowered and authentic.
At Atelier, we are thrilled to be able to showcase jewellery designs from this young designer, who is quite clear that she would like Anastassia Sel to be New York City-based in the future. For now, she shared a few of her version of “where the locals go” in Toronto:
Favourite restaurant in Toronto?
Favourite coffee shop in Toronto?
Favourite thing to do on a Saturday in Toronto?
I typically escape the city to a beautiful park like Algonquin, Tobermory or Hilton Falls. However, if I do stay in Toronto I usually check out what festivals are going on (Wine/Beer/Music) or go to a lively patio.
To see the exclusive Anastassia Sel collection currently available on Atelier click here.