Under the Influence: Objet Aimeé

Wed Jul 06, 2022

When we founded Tetra, we looked to the past for inspiration, and the designers who were creating simple, modernist smoking objects half a century ago. That's probably also why we gravitated toward the work of Aimee McLaughlin, a ceramic artist based in Portland, Maine — to create the vessels, dishware, and candleholders she offers under the studio name Objet Aimeé, she channels timeless influences like the ocean, and ancient Grecian pottery. Her pieces feature classic twisted handles, amphora shapes, scrolls, shells — the kinds of motifs that never get old, so you could keep her pieces for a lifetime, which is a philosophy we really value at Tetra.

McLaughlin originally studied textile design at the University of Georgia, but discovered her love for ceramics along the way, opening her studio in 2018. We first fell for her Mareé dishes after spotting them on Instagram and thinking they'd make the perfect ashtray, perched atop a chic coffee table book or a long, wooden dining table. When we reached out, she introduced us to the equally beautiful incense burner she makes in the same style. To celebrate their launch on Tetra, we asked McLaughlin to tell us more about herself, and the five biggest inspirations she finds herself gravitating towards right now. Read her answers below. 

Portrait photo by Jenny Bravo


Aimee McLaughlin's Influences

1. Jiaxi & Zhe

While working together on a recent project, a friend — Catherine Chi — introduced me to the still life photography of Jiaxi Yang and Zhe Zhu. Catherine shared an image from their series Objecthood, and I was immediately excited by the bold compositions and three-dimensional collage elements.

2. The ocean

The great mystery, vastness, and repetition of the ocean consistently influences my work. The Marée Holder was designed to resemble a wave on the sand. Marée means tide in French.

3. Historic Hollywood backdrops

I came across a collection of historic Hollywood backdrops through an internet rabbit hole a month or so ago and was struck not only by the scale of the paintings, but also with how they simultaneously expand and flatten both our sense of space and reality. The artistry is phenomenal. I would love to see one in person someday.

4. Animal-shaped vessels

The tradition of making vessels in the shape of animals has a rich history, from Minoan pottery circa 2300 BC, to 7th century Peru, to the Vietnamese Lê dynasty in the 16th century. For me, these zoomorphic forms (and the occasional mythological creature) playfully highlight how connected we are to the animal kingdom. I also just think they’re really fantastic objects. (Pictured: spotted feline bottle from the 4th-7th century, from the Met collection.)

5. Wildflowers

“When a flower grows wild it can always survive — wildflowers don’t care where they grow.” –Dolly Parton