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South Walton TDC Names Allison Craft 2012 Artist of the Year

October 12, 2011 by SoWal Staff

The South Walton Tourist Development Council (TDC) named jewelry designer Allison Craft its 2012 Artist of the Year at today's annual meeting.

Now in its tenth year, the Artist of the Year program has grown to showcase a collection of local artists that offer a wide range of media. Through this program, the TDC promotes the destination’s thriving arts community and places the spotlight on a talented artist each year. Read an earlier SoWal story about Allison Craft.

“So many capable artists applied this year and our committee’s decision was a tough one.  In the end we really felt Allison’s work embodies the heart and story of South Walton,” says TDC Executive Director Dawn Moliterno. “The idea that our beach neighborhoods are connected like a strand of pearls along the Gulf made Allison’s jewelry a perfect tie-in with our new branding and current marketing efforts.”

When Allison and her family decided to move to Grayton Beach, she realized her need for a creative outlet, so she turned to a craft she had spent her working years curating as an escape - jewelry making.  After teaching art for many years and painting for private collections as well as many commercial clients, Allison says she “lost the watch, found the flip flops.” Her art has evolved into a blend of what she sees from her chair at the edge of the water and the quiet understated beauty of pearls and leather, combined with other natural elements.

She puts her own spin on the leather and pearls look, even using turquoise, recycled glass or antique coins, which beautifully encompass the natural beauty that is all around South Walton. She makes every piece by hand, drilling the pearls and using rolled and conditioned leather. Allison says if she can drill it, she can use it. One of Allison’s proudest moments came when TV personality Rachael Ray wore one of her necklaces to the White House for the Help Your Kids Eat Better event with First Lady Michelle Obama, which she said was “awesome!”

“My jewelry fits the South Walton lifestyle. The pieces are casual and elegant; they can be dressed up or down. Each pearl I use is so unique like our beaches. They’re natural, not flashy,” notes Allison.

“I’m so excited for this opportunity and to be working with South Walton,” says Allison. “Before I moved here, I always brought my materials down to the beach. I would sit in the sand making jewelry for hours. Since I’ve been here I’ve been so embraced by the art community and have been supported by so many special people that have helped me grow. I’m so looking forward to representing South Walton as a featured artist this year.”

Allison’s jewelry can be found at 30A Studio at Hibiscus in Grayton Beach, Fusion Art Glass in Seaside and Grand Boulevard, Tracery Interiors in Rosemary, Old Florida Outfitters in Watercolor, Nuance Living in Seagrove Beach and many other boutiques across the country.

As the South Walton TDC’s 2012 Artist of the Year, Allison’s artwork will be shared throughout the year and infused into the TDC marketing, public relations, community relations and social media efforts. For more information on the South Walton TDC’s Artist of the Year program, contact Jami Ray at 850.267.1216 or jami@visitsouthwalton.com.    


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