We lost one of the greats on January 20, 2018. Wendell Castle, widely known as the father of art furniture, has passed. He was 85 but it seemed like he would go on forever. Always at the forefront of design and technologies of making, it was only a little over two years ago that New York’s Museum of Arts and Design presented an exhibition of 15 of his new works.
In Wendell Castle Remastered the artist revisited his groundbreaking works of the 1960s, going back to the stack laminated and sculpted techniques he innovated, but took his inspiration into the 21st century with the use of CNC. We featured that exhibition in issue 89 of Australian Wood Review.
In the course of a career that spanned six decades, Castle was an influencer and a rule-breaker, deconstructing notions of form in furniture to comment on human attitudes and perceptions.
Wendell Castle’s output was prodigious. His work was widely exhibited and is held in over 50 public and private collections throughout the world. He received numerous and awards and honours which were a testament to not only his artistry but positive influence on others. Wendell Castle died in his in his Scottsville, New York home on January 20.
Below are the 10 Rules of Thumb that Wendell Castle published in 1966 and which continue to inspire many in all walks of life.
1. If you are in love with an idea you are no judge of its beauty or value.
2. It is difficult to see the whole picture when you are inside the frame.
3. After learning the tricks of the trade, don’t think you know the trade.
4. We hear and apprehend what we already know.
5. The dog that stays on the porch will find no bones.
6. Never state a problem to yourself in the same terms it was brought to you.
7. If it’s offbeat or surprising it’s probably useful.
8. If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it.
9. Don’t get too serious.
10. If you hit the bullseye every time the target is too near.