Festival artists share flair for creativity

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Dennis Hines | July 29, 2015

ROCKTON — After working in education for 34 years, Diane Adams now lets her creative juices flow with her copper tooling artwork.

Adams works on her craft out of her Rockton home, as part of a small venture she calls Designs by Diane. Adams will feature several of her pieces during the 58th annual Tallman Arts Festival, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 2, at the Rock County Historical Society campus, 426 N. Jackson St. in Janesville.

“(Copper tooling) is flat, but it has a 3-D effect to it,” Adams said. “I usually add a frame or painting to it, or beads. I'm always coming up with something new.”

Adams has been working on copper tooling pieces since 2000. She became interested in the art form while attending an art show in Rockford. After selling some of her work, Adams decided to make copper tooling a regular hobby.

“I attended an art show in Rockford and someone had done some (copper tooling), and I thought, 'I have the tools to do this,'” Adams said. “I participated in an art show at the Hedberg Public Library, and some of my pieces sold and I thought, 'I should keep doing this.' I did a show in Rockton for five or six years, and one year I won best of show. It's pretty much just a hobby. I'm not trying to get rich off of it. It's just a nice way to do art.”

This will be the third year in a row that Adams has participated in the art show, after taking a 25-year hiatus.

“I did the show 25 years ago with a different media. I stopped doing it when I got into teaching, but now I'm back,” Adams said. “I've received a good response the past couple of years. I'm hoping for another good year.”

Adams said the amount of time it takes to complete a project depends on the size of the piece.

“The tooling doesn't take a lot of time,” Adams said. “The painting and framing takes a longer amount of time.”

Adams taught art in the Janesville School District for about 30 years, primarily at Marshall Middle School.

“I taught all over the place. When I started, they moved around all the elementary school art teachers,” Adams said. “I ended up teaching Spanish at Marshall and then I taught art at Marshall, and that's what I did for about 25 years.”
Set in stone

Tom Moran of Genoa City will bring his cast stone pieces to the festival. Moran creates cast flagstones, slate, cobblestones and stepping stones for gardens, patios and walkways.

“I design usable stepping stones,” Moran said. “I have designs of frogs on lily pads. I have ornate butterflies. I also create cast slates for patios.”

This will be fourth year that Moran has attended the festival. He said participating in the show gives him an opportunity to display his products.

“There seems to be a good garden community there, because I sell a lot of my stones,” Moran said.

Moran became interested in cast stone art about six years ago after he wanted to build a patio for his home. He now operates his own patio-design business, StoneCrete, in Genoa City.

“I realized it was a great business concept. I came up with the stepping stone line out of it,” Moran said. “It took off from there. I went from doing it in my home to having to move into a bigger space. It was something that I needed to do at the time that turned into a business.”

Moran said he enjoys operating the business and interacting with his clients.

“I love the creativity of the work. People seem to like my work,” Moran said. “I have people coming back to me every year.

“Since I work for myself, I don't have a high level of stress. It's a down home, creative business. I never get bored. ... There's no end to the possibilities.”

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