My name is David Pearce, and I’m the designer, fabricator and owner of Future Relic, where I create minimalist designs that emphasize usefulness and visual harmony. My workspace is nestled in a quiet little creative community in historic Santa Fe, New Mexico, surrounded by start-ups, a cafe, and beautiful mountain views. It’s a wonderful place to express my creative side and channel my entrepreneurial drive.
The path that led me to have an Etsy shop involved quite a few turns. I studied molecular biology and geology as an undergrad in Arkansas; when I graduated, I went to work for the U.S. Geological Survey in Washington D.C as a biogeochemist. I loved the fieldwork we did studying contaminated groundwater, but that was really a small part of the job. Eventually, the rigors of windowless laboratory work took its toll, and I began searching for an alternative. I quickly settled on the idea of earning a graduate degree in architecture, which appealed to me because of its mix of art and science.
In the beginning, my plan was to graduate, work hard, and eventually become a licensed architect. However, while attending graduate school in Texas, I developed an interest in machining. I set up a machine shop in my garage and used my spare time to teach myself how to design and machine small objects. I continued working with my manual machines and read about DIY versions of computer-controlled machines, while dreaming of having my own.
After finishing graduate school, I worked on a few different projects and then joined an architecture firm; I quickly realized that I was heading into a career that was likely to leave me dissatisfied and frustrated. So, I decided to walk away from the job I had trained for and throw my energy into creating my own design and fabrication studio.
Over the last few years, I’ve put a lot of effort into learning how to build and operate computer-controlled milling machines. I’ve built two of these versatile, powerful manufacturing tools to-date, and I have a third one in the works. These machines are the heart of my shop, as they allow me to take my designs from the computer to the physical world.
My inspiration to create is driven by a deep curiosity about the impact the fabrication process has on an object; I believe that great design and great products can only come from a great process. I begin my design process by thinking about how my current tools and methods can be used or modified to allow me to create something easier, better, or new. During the initial design phase, I tend to work in my head; once I have an initial concept that ties together form, function and fabrication, I move to the computer.
When I select a material, I think about how it performs, how it looks, and how it feels. I typically choose between bronze, brass, copper, or stainless steel alloy. I use parametric modeling techniques to iterate through variations. Once I’ve identified a promising design, I perform a test run of the manufacturing. Based on the results, I modify the design and the fabrication process and continue to refine them both until I achieve my desired final product.
I have always been a builder, maker and designer, but these interests have only recently merged into a career for me. I started Future Relic to structure my exploration; Etsy has provided me with a pathway to earn a living from my interests. I love having the flexibility to try out new designs without putting forth enormous resources for large production runs.
The feedback from Etsy shoppers is also an invaluable guide to what is and isn’t working in my shop. As Future Relic grows, the focus will continue to be on refining my skill as a designer, educating myself about manufacturing techniques, and most importantly, creating beautiful objects of the highest quality.
All photographs by Future Relic.