Getting to know artist/designer, Nina Gelardi, owner of Juno Shoe Girl Boutique.
Nina started her art and design career as a full time potter in Rocky Hill, New Jersey (Princeton), where she co-owned Clayphernalia Studio and Gallery from 1979 until 1998; creating fine porcelain dinnerware, tiles and sculpture.
(She has a bachelor of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute ( RIT) in Ceramics and Sculpture with a minor in Fabric Design.)
In 1986, she was commissioned to design a collection of porcelain belt buckles to attach to leather belts as “wearable art”. This was the beginning of the Art to Wear revolution.
She formed Nina Gelardi Designs in 1987 and went on to establish a presence in the New York fashion markets for the next 10 years, selling her twice yearly collections of leather belts, handbags and jewelry worldwide.
In 1998, her company was purchased by the Atlanta based shoe design company, Arteffects Footwear. She left New Jersey to become creative director and head designer at Arteffects and learn the shoe industry from the inside out. She travelled from Brazil to Taiwan and India to Italy to cover the major fashion markets and to visit factories and villages making her designs for Arteffects.
Nina moved to Hobe Sound in 2007 and established Juno Shoe Girl in 2010; selling her own handmade sandals with removable jewelry ornaments to shops and resorts in Florida and the southeast.
Juno is not only a beautiful beach town; it is the name of the “Roman Goddess of Motherhood”. Juno was married to the Roman God, Jupiter, (another beautiful beach town). Every year on March 1st, a festival for women was held in Rome to honor Juno.
In September of 2012, Nina opened Juno Shoe Girl Boutique at 11766 se Dixie Hwy, Hobe Sound, Florida. The boutique holds a variety of handmade shoes from Brazil, Spain, Italy and Palm Beach. She will custom make hand painted leather sandals or embellish them with removable jewelry. In addition to sandals, loafers, ballets and comfort shoes, you will also find coastal chic tunics, resort wear, hats, handbags, jewelry, and gifts. Her customers remark that a trip to Juno Shoe Girl Boutique is almost like taking a vacation. The store surroundings are bright and colorful and the only rule is that your experience here must be fun!
When Nina is not at the store welcoming customers or designing new sandals; she can be found at the beach in Hobe Sound or travelling to Europe and South America for inspiration and fun!
“My sandals are handcrafted using the finest hand dyed and painted leathers. Each pair is the culmination of the many areas of study in my career as an artist-craftsperson. The natural materials and color combinations that I use in my work are primarily influenced by my travels throughout Indonesia and Latin America. The bright colors, graphic patterns and tribal art forms and symbols create a feeling of global synchronicity. I have combined these influences along with my talents in painting, leather, metals & ceramics into a collage of wearable art for the feet.”
- Nina Gelardi.