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School for American Craftsmen

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Blanket Chest

36 1/2 x 32 x 21 in. (92.7 x 81.3 x 53.3 cm)

Wendell Castle
United States (Emporia, KS, 1932 - 2018, Scottsville, NY)

Object Type: Furniture
Medium and Support: Cherry
Credit Line: The Mr. and Mrs. James Sibley Watson Purchase Award, Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition
Accession Number: 1965.21
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Location: Not currently on view

Blanket Chest is now considered among Castle's early masterpieces. Not only is it one of the first major works to use stack lamination, it also stakes its claim equally as sculpture and furniture. The central form is carved from two blocks of laminated cherry, hollowed out to serve as a storage container. (The lid opens to reveal an ample cradle-like cavity.) The piece is also compelling as sculpture, with its distinctive pod shape and its plant-inspired handle, appearing to grow out of its half-domed base.

Speaking in 2004 about this piece, Castle explained that the base began as a square, which he modified as the piece evolved. Although bases are easy for visitors to overlook - often requiring a change in position from standing to crouching - they are critical to the support and the overall aesthetics. About the significance of bases, particularly of tables and desk, Castle once explained, "I kind of like the thing underneath the most. I was interested in…getting the base out from under the table and making the whole thing a piece of sculpture."

[Gallery label text]

Carved in proper left side of pedestal: W.C. 63

Purchased from the 1965 Rochester-Finger Lakes Exhibition

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