Castle, Wendell

Castle, Wendell,

1932–2018, American furniture designer, b. Emporia, Kans., grad. Univ. of Kansas (B.F.A. 1958, M.F.A. 1961). Trained as an industrial designer and sculptor, he became the preeminent postwar American furniture designer, creating pieces that were as much sculpture as furniture. His most creative period encompassed the late 1980s and early 90s. Idiosyncratic, sinuous, and biomorphic, his frequently whimsical furniture is primarily carved and glued out of wood using a stack lamination technique that allowed him to create large, solid forms that would not crack. He also worked in fiberglass, plastic, concrete, metals, and stone, and made use of computers, laser-scanning, and robots to produce his pieces. His work is found in many American museum collections. Castle also was a teacher and artist in residence at the Rochester Institute of Technology.


See W. Castle and D. Edman, The Wendell Castle Book of Wood Lamination (1980); catalogue raisonné by E. Evans Eerdmans and G. Adamson (2016); The Fine Art of the Furniture Maker: Conversations with Wendell Castle (1981); studies by D. S. Taragin and E. S. Cooke (1996), G. Holcomb (2005), L. Blackledge and B. Woodard (2008), A. Gordon and E. Snyderman (2012), and L. S. Sims and R. T. Labaco (2016).

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Castle, Wendell

(1932–  ) furniture maker; born in Emporia, Kans. With a 1961 M.F.A. in sculpture from the University of Kansas, he developed a method of laminating wood to make organic-shaped furniture. In 1970 he started a production line to make limited editions of his designs, and went on to explore more traditional styles using exotic woods and pieces with illusionistic carvings. He established the Wendell Castle Workshop in 1980.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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