SANTA ROSA BEACH – Giraffes are graceful, gentle animals with extraordinary hearts and exceptionally long necks. One must imagine that blue giraffes are stand-outs even among a unique species.”Blue giraffes are just plain cute,” said Christi Taylor Sheffield, co-owner and artist in residence at The Blue Giraffe at Watercolor Resort, on her Facebook page. She and her mother, Debbie Taylor, run the store.
Just off Scenic 30A in South Walton County, The Blue Giraffe is the place to shop for “fine and funky” art and artful gifts to use, admire, wear or inspire. I wandered in one afternoon while exploring Watercolor’s Town Center and found more artists and creations than
I could easily process.
Original art, handcrafted jewelry, pottery, accessories, amusements, sculptures and interior accents cover every surface from floor to ceiling. Prices run from $5 to $4,000, depending on what you’re after. “Most of our artists are local or from the Southeast region,” Sheffield said during a tour of the shop this week. “We like hand-crafted and American. We’re steering away from anything not made in the USA.”
An alcove area called “A Sea of Books” holds a distinctive selection of inspirational books, art and photography books, children’s books, coastal books, journals, puzzle books and more. Taylor has “a passion for the written word,” and she personally chooses the books for the shop. “It’s a nice way to merge my love of arts and her love of books,” Sheffield said.
Browsing through the store, you might find artwork by the Moore Family Folk Art, a unique example of a collaborative family project completed using only found, salvaged and recycled materials. Dad Alan and daughters Isabella and Emma Moore of Crestview use old sheet metal, wood, kitchen utensils, wire and buttons they pick up in a variety of places, including antique stores, Dumpsters and the side of the road.
Another artist you might find at Blue Giraffe is Aaron Sutton, a colorblind artist who paints images of the Gulf, local wildlife, the beaches and architecture of the area. He paints mostly with acrylics on canvas, and he does occasional demos and workshops at the store.
The shop opened in Blue Mountain Beach 2008, and Sheffield and Taylor bought the store from its original owner in 2010, after the inventory had been moved to Watercolor.
“We loved to shop here when we were vacationing,” Sheffield said. “I felt a connection to the artwork and