I have just heard Len Castle has died at age 87.
He has apparently been low for some time due to ongoing pulmonary problems – very possibly an occupational illness. His contribution has been enormous as one of our most influential practitioners of the Anglo-oriental which was the dominant ethos in New Zealand ceramic practice from mid 20thC through to the 1980s. Then in the late 60’s, Len also was instrumental in leading the way, in ceramics and in response to what was happening in the wider NZ art world, toward an indigenisation of the Anglo-oriental that evoked the textures and surfaces of nature. These were unique series that possibly remain his strongest works. This response to and evocation of our natural world, in surface, form and colour, was his ongoing underlying theme throughout much of his career, from the early bush textures to the thermal wonderland of his later works, from early reduced stoneware to the later earthenware. It has been a career of great import that will resonate for a considerable time.
He was much honoured in his lifetime and a man of great personal charm and a marvelously romantic way with words. His passing will be mourned by many. We are happy to publish tributes on-line.