As crafts emerged as a popular, artistic trend after World War II, Castle taught himself woodworking, moving in the early 1960s to Rochester, New York. By the late 1950s some of the more innovative American craftsmen in wood, ceramics, and metal had advanced beyond the previously accepted emphasis on traditional materials and function in the crafts. The postwar education boom, spurred by the GI Bill, brought craftspeople into university art departments and art schools and introduced them to the same training and conceptual concerns as their fine art contemporaries.
Castle's work represented this postwar merging of craft and fine art concerns, exemplified by his early 1960s pieces using the technique of wood lamination. In this method, wood boards were glued together, carved, and smoothed, with the resulting form finished with oil. Inspired by the sculpture of such artists as Henry Moore, Castle produced furniture that was far larger and more organic than would have been possible with traditional woodcarving. To this day, Castle often names and signs his furniture, giving them the imprimatur of works of art.
Excerpt from the catalogue essay by Donald Albrecht for the exhibition "AutoPlastic: Wendell Castle, 1968-1973"