Sunday, June 29, 2008

Wendell Castle Interview - Part 1

This is a very important interview for the furniture design and woodworking community as a whole with Wendell Castle.

Those of you who follow the blog are prepared for this interview. You have been exposed to his web site, gone through his design process, and I have built a piece inspired by Castle in stack and bent lamination, techniques that Castle brought to the forefront in pushing furniture design. This interview is the culmination of presenting to you, a very important figure in our craft.

We all know Maloof, Nakishima, and Carpenter, but it was Wendell Castle who pushed the boundaries of art and furniture. And one of the original 5 to open the Smithsonians', Renwick Gallery.

Enjoy part 1 of the interview, I'm excited to be with Wendell, and we go into areas other individuals wouldn't know how to get to.

Prior to our sit-down, Mr Castle menioned he didn't know the answers to many of my questions, but that's OK, lets just go somewhere. What a great opportunity this approach provided me and it played out to the max.

Enjoy.................. history will prove this interview to be very important.


Formats available: Quicktime (.mov)


Vic said...

Wonderful Neil!!
Inspiring. I'd go on, but I need to go sketch!!
Looking forward to part 2.

Earl Kelly said...

Bravo, Neil!!! What a wonderful opportunity for you and your viewers.

Wendell Castle, one of my Favorites. Can't wait for part two.


Mark Mazzo said...

Hey Neil,

Leaving us hanging on the cliff with that ending...can't wait for Part 2!

Very interesting to hear Wendell Castle speaking about his artistic process and design efforts.

Coincidentally, his studio is in Scottsville NY, a suburb of Rochester (I live in another suburb). He also taught at the RIT School for American Craftsmen (I'm an RIT grad - though in a completely different discipline). I've never had the opportunity to meet him, but through your interview I'm getting a glimpse. Very cool!


The Craftsman's Path

Al said...


This was a *terrific* Part 1, and I am looking forward to Part 2!

I always learn something new from your posts, and from your videos. Thank you for introducing Wendell Castle and his work to me - it is wonderful!

While I watched the interview a chill ran down my spine, as I *sensed* history being made. Kudos!

I totally missed the opportunity to visit his studio when we lived first in Long Island, and later in Fairport, NY, just a few miles SE of Rochester. It was shortly after we left Fairport that my love affair with woodworking started...


John Fry said...

Fantastic Neil,

Thank you for bringing Mr. Castle to us. His enthusiasm parallels yours and its fun to see the two of you talk design. He gets so deeply involved with his comments and answers that this should probably be a four part interview. ;-)

In my opinion, the two best statements he has made so far are, and I'm paraphrasing;

If you hit the bullseye every time, the target is too near.

Design isn't all about inspiration! It is all about going to work. Then working, and working, and then you keep working.

There is so much to be gained from these two statements.

I can't wait for part 2.


David Pruett said...

Neil –

Well, the Master does it again! The world’s first woodworking cliffhanger . . .

What an absolute pleasure to watch you and Mr. Castle. You have taken us on a wonderful journey with your blog. I had a similar shiver in my spine as I watched Part I unfold. I can’t wait for Part II, but more importantly, I can’t wait to see where you take us next.

I agree with Mr. Fry. Some very important statements were made in your interview (paraphrasing again).

“If you hit the bulls eye every time, the target is too close.”

“ . . . it is all about work . . . working . . . then you keep working”

“ . . . my most important tool is a pencil . . . I draw every day . . .”

Neil, your excitement and passion again serves to draw the audience in and gives one the feeling of sitting next to you during the interview. This was such a treat. Kudos to you and Gigi for such an awesome job of preparation, videography, and editing. Gigi looks very comfortable under the glow of your Wendell Castle inspired lamp. And what can we say of you in your tux except Bravissimo!


Shannon said...


Nice penguin suit!!! Wow! What can I say about this interview. I am a little late getting to it because for some reason your podcasts don't play on my ipod and that means I have to slow down long enough to watch them on my desktop. So first off, thank you for that, I need someone making me slow down.

The genius to your style is that every time you turn on the camera you are teaching. It is not overt teaching, but teaching by osmosis. Your passion is contagious and I am riveted to everything you do. In this instance to see two people with incredible passion together talking is almost more than I can take. I know of no other podcast out there where I actually take notes while watching. So to glean a little something from Mr. Castle: watching a good podcast is work and inspiration may not jump up and bite you unless you work to absorb everything.

His inspiration comments really hit home. To hear someone of his brilliance say that you have to work hard in design is truly profound. Mozart was a genius and beautiful, moving music came to him like a flash of light, but he worked really, really hard to refine that design and the finished product is divine. (can you tell I was a music major).

By the way I have read Blink and I highly recommend it. Bring a pencil with you because you will want to take notes during the read.

I especially liked Mr. Castle's table design scenario where you get to understand what he is thinking when he "guides" the viewer to the leg. Really powerful stuff that will stick with me.

Thank you so much for all you do. I don't think anyone else could have gotten that interview and it is truly your passion and immense knowledge of the subject that garners respect from people to grant you and interview.

I try working backwards all the time, but I keep bumping into things! Can't wait for part 2, I'll keep drawing until then!

"The Renaissance Woodworker"

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