Farewell to Icon Len Castle — 05.10.11

Len Castle, one of New Zealand's most accomplished and sophisticated potters, with an unparalleled contribution to the studio pottery movement, died last week at the age of 86.

Len Castle, one of New Zealand's most accomplished and sophisticated potters, with an unparalleled contribution to the studio pottery movement, died last week at the age of 86.

In keeping with Len's wishes, this announcement is being made following a private family funeral for Len held on Tuesday, 4 October.  The Arts Foundation sends its condolences to Nancy, family and friends.

One of the ten inaugural Arts Foundation Icons honoured in 2003, Len was also the recipient of a CBE for Services to Pottery in 1986, a New Zealand Commemorative Medal in 1990, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland in 2004 and he received a D.C.N.Z.M
(Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit) for Services to Pottery, also in 2004.

With his scientific background, Len was always curious about the natural world and was interested in extending his knowledge and understanding of it.  He enjoyed constant exploration, an attitude that opened the paths of creative production for him.  He usually started with a distinct idea
for what he wanted to achieve in a new project and after 62 years of potting experience, became extremely adept at translating this idea into the finished product.

Len travelled extensively, demonstrating and judging at exhibitions. His solo exhibition, 'Mountain to the Sea', contained approximately sixty works and toured to selected galleries around New Zealand throughout 2009 and into 2010.  The publication Len Castle: Potter
(Ron Sang Publications) was joint winner of the Illustrative Category of the Montana Book Awards 2003 and Len Castle: Making the Molecules Dance (Lopdell House Gallery) won the NZ Post Book Award for Best Illustrative Non-fiction in 2009.

Image by Neil McKenzie