One year ago, Nick Clifford was looking for a horseshoe ring to wear. His only discoveries were way out of his price range, so he stopped looking and went about making it himself. After a series of trips to jewellery stores and Bunnings, he had made his horseshoe ring and learned in the process that making jewellery is his calling. He continued under the name, The Dream Reaper.
The style of his jewellery is Americana-inspired and relaxed. His home studio is busy with cacti and ornaments from his travels across the southern states of America. “I have a long love affair with that part of the world,” he says.
Clifford is also inspired by the handmade culture that has taken off in the States. Self-taught and eager, a large part of the design process for Clifford is about experimentation. "Many of the rings came about as mistakes,” he says. The rings themselves are heavy, made in brass and silver and come in a handful of different designs, hammered with symbols reminiscent of the desert and embedded with onyx and turquoise stones. His rings are bold and look like artefacts from another time.
For Clifford, it has always been about craftsmanship – developing products that are treasured. His previous creation was Slinger Bags; durable tote bags made of quality Australian denim. "Being in control of every step of the process, rather than outsourcing it, gives me the freedom to experiment, better myself, and come up with new ideas as a result of the learning process," he says.
Both men and women have been wearing Clifford's rings and he will work on custom pieces, too. "Making things with my hands is when I'm most happy, if I could just sit at my bench and make them all day every day, that would be the dream."
The process of silver smithing is arduous and invested; the fact he’s making something that won't be disposed of is gratifying for Clifford. "Even if someone stops wearing one of my rings, they will most likely still keep it, or pass it on to someone important to them, or maybe it will end up in an op shop in 50 years.”