Artisans Stories

In Conversation With Textile Artist, Lora Avedian | Artisans Stories


In Conversation With Textile Artist, Lora Avedian | Artisans Stories

Textile artist Lora Avedian’s intricately embroidered florals are a synthesis of modern design and traditional technique, stitched from a beautiful palette of natural colours and gloriously arranged onto vintage fabrics.

Lora was taught the basics of embroidery by her mum during her time at secondary school, and picked up on her enthusiasm for textiles and crafting things by hand.

“My mum was interested in textiles so she sort of encouraged me in that direction. She’d always do evening classes and she showed me how to use her machine to do freelance style embroidery with a hoop.”

“I did my A-Levels in Textiles and I met Karen Nickell’s daughter (she’s a textiles designer and embroider). I learnt quite a lot from her when I would go over to their house and see her studio.”

In the studio

I guess I’ve always been quite lucky with the people that I’ve met along the way"

It was Karen who told Lora about the BA course in Manchester where she ended up studying embroidery. It’s not a course which exists anymore. But according to Lora, that doesn’t mean that embroidery is any less popular or accessible, quite the opposite.

There aren’t really any courses which are ‘textile art’ anymore, I don’t think, not in the same way, it’s sort of merged into just the regular textiles course.”

“I think people are learning in different ways now. They’re not necessarily having to go to University to learn all about it.”

“The nice thing about embroidery is that it’s a folk art essentially. It’s something that people have picked up and done for centuries, so it’s accessible. Now that we have all of this online learning, it’s so much easier to find a tutorial on the kind of thing that you are looking for.”

Stitch in Bloom

Another way that embroidery and textile art has recently become more accessible, is in the form of Lora’s new book, ‘Stitch in Bloom’. She hopes it will encourage people to get creative with materials and garments that they find around their home.

The Garden Jacket project from Lora’s

They contacted me in the end of 2019 and then I was getting married and there wasn’t any time to sort it out until the beginning of the next year (which was when the whole Covid thing happened), so it’s been a bit of a slow burner throughout the last year. It all sort of came together quite quickly last year and then it was launched this year. It’s quite amazing really. I can’t really believe that I did it.”

Lora sees the positive side to being set this immense task during a year when everything was on hold.

“It was a blessing that I was able to have that as my focus throughout the year. I never usually do such long projects. Usually I will know my deadline and have to work towards it, but it usually is a month or two maximum. This project was like the whole year which was quite amazing really. It felt like a really crazy thing to do but I enjoyed the process a lot.”

Lora's floral design for the Barbican Centre


Aside from her amazing homeware, Lora’s commissions are often created for a world outside of the home. Lora’s many fascinating collaborations including those with galleries such as the V&A and the Barbican Centre.

I really enjoy doing collaborations, and that was something that I tried to focus on during my MA. I enjoyed working with the weaver Christopher McAvoy during my MA. I designed a cloth that he physically embroidered for me. That kind of thing. Just seeing your design come to life in a different form that you can’t see yourself is really fun."

“The work with John Smedley was really cool. They sponsored me for my MA and I persuaded them to do a knitted blanket with me. I think the Barbican centre is the one I am most proud of. I was sort of going back to set design which was really nice. It was translating the textiles I had been working on back into 3D, larger scale props and things.”

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Collaboration with John Smedley

Set Design

Lora’s cushions and lampshades are sold at The New Craftsman, where they come together to form part of her magical world of textiles. This fascination for creating a world though her homeware and designs, can be traced back to when she worked as a set and prop designer.

“Between doing my BA and my MA, I was making props and creating these fantastical worlds. I worked on secret cinema and did things where you immersed in the experience, as well as making things that were for photoshoots and adverts. I think that whole idea was something that I was really interested in - immersing yourself in this world. I was really inspired, when I was finishing my BA, by Tim Walker and Shona Heath with their photography and the crazy worlds that they made.”

“I guess you can’t create an immersive world with just a cushion but there is something slightly fantastical about textiles. Textiles always reminds me of very romantic films.”

Becoming a Prop Designer

Lora was initially working as an admin assistant for an art director/stylist when she met the lady who gave Lora her first assistant role as a prop designer.

I was assisting someone called Supermarket Sarah. She did this wall of props and things, and she got people to come and have a shop on her was like a big supermarket of all these different artists. I was assisting her for a bit and a set designer that she worked with. I was definitely more interested in the set design than anything else. But I didn’t know how to get into it, so I was quite lucky.”

“I met the lady who would make all her props if she wanted them and I got talking to her…I ended up assisting her for on and off maybe four years. From there she passed my name onto other people as an assistant."

“It was all networking and talking and making friends. I was really quite a fun industry. I do miss it sometimes, and sometimes I do still do bits and pieces if people contact me. I ended up doing a lot of paper prop-making. Recently I had a commission to do some prop making out of paper, which was a really nice change.”

Lora's moodboard

The Joy of Slow and Sustainable Craft

Like paper-art, embroidery is a long, time consuming process, but one which gives Lora great joy and satisfaction.

It is quite a laborious process. I have always liked doing something that takes a bit of time. It’s actually about the repetitiveness for me, and getting into that zone. I love drawing and collage because you can get into a zone with it."

“You have to be quite patient with yourself and the materials. I think that it makes me calm and it can be frustrating. I don’t like making masses of one thing. I do like a slow process.”

Sometimes when I’ve talked to people about making and how I’ve made my work, and they say “could you make 12 of those cushions” and I’m like “no, actually I couldn’t”… I think it slightly disgruntles people sometimes. It’s just the way it is and it’s the way I want to work. I think that you have to stick to your guns with craft. The people who appreciate it will really understand and appreciate it, and there is an audience for it.

Lora's collection for The New Craftsman

Lora finds joy not only in the crafting process, but where her art ends up and how the finished item is treasured.

A lady said she wanted to give the flower to a friend who was unwell. It’s nice to be able to make things which are given and kept and enjoyed like that."

"I think that is what put me off doing set design. Things were just going to get chucked away, which is really sad. Every time I made stuff I wanted to make them really beautifully and it was very hard not to.”


Sustainability is an important part of Lora’s practice and she aims to use up fabric scraps wherever she can. She used one of her most recent collections for The New Craftsman as an opportunity to use up some of the fabric scraps that she has amassed over the years.

“Sometimes you just have to buy things new. But I try as much as I can to use stuff that I’ve got scraps of. In my most recent collection for Craftsman I’ve used scraps of a material which I’ve collected for years. I appliqued the background, and then stitched over the top of it. I want to do more of that kind of thing because I have so much material, so I’m trying my best to use things that I have already rather than buying new.”

“The textile industry isn’t the greatest for the environment, so it’s the least I can do!”

P.S. Lora has kindly provided us with a discount code for her beautiful new book. Use ARTISAN10 to receive 10% off until the 31st of August.

In Stitch in Bloom you will find projects to help you learn embroidery and create incredible statement pieces by hand.

Click here!

Also read "In Conversation With Ceramicist Daisy Cooper"