Born in 1924, Len Castle completed a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Auckland in 1946. He was introduced to pottery at night classes while training to be a secondary school teacher. His career path turned after he won a scholarship to study with master potter Bernard Leach in St Ives, Cornwall. During this period, recalled Castle, he absorbed a strong work ethic and became strongly drawn to the Oriental aesthetic. Castle returned from England to a job teaching science at Auckland Teachers' College. In 1963, he left the Teachers' College and became a professional potter, and in the same year, was instrumental in establishing the New Zealand Society of Potters. In 1966, he won a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council fellowship, which he used to go to Japan and Hawaii. His trip cemented his love of Japanese pottery. In 1986, Castle was made a Commander of the British Empire and in 1990, he received a New Zealand Commemorative Medal, and in 2003 was made a Distinguished Companion of the NZ Order of Merit. Len Castle died in 2011.
Len Castle, hanging form, in oxide washed stoneware of 'Heart’ shape, circa 1990, LC mark, length 27 cm. Illustrated: NZ Potter, volume 35, number 1, page 20. From the exhibition the Restless earth Moves Me at the Rotorua Bathhouse Museum.
Len Castle, hanging form, in iron oxide washed stoneware with impressed motifs, circa 1980s, length 56 cm. These motifs were used widely by Len Castle and are based on a Kanji symbol that Castle saw in Japan on the eves of farmhouses, the symbol meaning to
Len Castle, hanging form, in oxide washed stoneware with abstract ribbed pattern, circa 1985, LC mark, length 28 cm. Illustrated: ceramic form by Peter Lane (1988), page 149 and Making the Molecules dance, page 54.
Len Castle, Discoid hanging form, with burnt umber wash, circa 1960s, length 35 cm. Provenance: Purchased with Len Castle at the Albany village Potters Collectible show in 1996. Ex the Nancy Beck collection.
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