As the days get shorter, the need becomes greater for something to light the way in the darkness. The cresset, often of open-work iron and made to hold resinous wood, allows for fires to be lit and contained off the ground. You will lay out your designs on three pieces of 1/8-inch steel and chisel cut sections to be spread, rolled into scrolls, and manipulated into interesting silhouettes. After forging and filing to remove raggedly cut edges, these three pieces will be bent either side of a hole in the center of each, forming six panels. These will be joined at that center hole by a tenon on a bar, which can be tapered and driven into a wooden pole. A ring will be forged to secure the tops of the six sections to form the basket shape. There is a small materials fee, payable to the instructor.
Tom Latané started forging reproduction colonial and early American ironwork in Maryland in the early 1970s. After moving to the Midwest in 1981, he was introduced to the creative whimsy of Norwegian folk iron. Tom and his wife, Catherine, have a shop in Pepin, Wisconsin, where Tom repairs antiques and creates original pieces using a traditional design vocabulary and historic hand techniques. Tom has demonstrated for blacksmith groups and has taught at folk schools around the country. Some of Tom’s ironwork can be seen in Vesterheim’s Westby-Torgerson Education Center.