Ben Caldwell is a nationally recognized coppersmith who makes copper, enamel and silver serving pieces. His work, which includes such utilitarian objects as bowls, trays, spoons, ladles, candlesticks, and salad sets, is hand-hammered using traditional smithing techniques in his art studio in Nashville, TN. Sculptural in form, Ben’s themes are typically botanical in nature: flowers, leaves, and vines, oftentimes with deer antlers as handles. Special orders and art commissions are available upon request.
My work is rooted in the past, in a time when everyday items were created by individual craftsmen. To see the way forward, I must look back to pre-Industrial Revolution silversmiths in England and America. In order to replicate the processes used, I make most of my own tools.
Art Nouveau style and the Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century provide the inspiration for most of my work. The botanical designs of flowers, leaves and vines come from Art Nouveau. The utilitarian designs, exposed joinery and hammered surfaces are drawn from the Arts and Crafts philosophy of simple and direct beauty.
I enjoy working with antler because it is a beautiful sculptural form found in nature. It provides juxtaposition at the material level. Copper and silver dug from the earth, combined with the antler, which is naturally shed from a living animal, create both tension and balance.