Meet Lora Avedian
Multidisciplinary artist Lora Avedian graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2017 with a master’s degree in mixed media textiles. She uses classic embroidery to add intricate embellishment to artefacts and is influenced by nature, folk costume and story telling.
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I like to use embroidery as a way of drawing. I regularly employ a technique called couching in which a continuous line of a material can be arranged across a base fabric and stitched in place to create a pattern. Nature is a huge inspiration for me, especially flowers. As part of my research for a piece, I tend to do a lot of drawings that eventually translate into embroideries.
The story of an object and its history are things I find fascinating. Antique textiles hold a special appeal for me, from old samples to Edwardian ribbon work. I’ve been going to fairs at Hammersmith Town Hall since I was a teenager and I love finding handmade lace and pieces of embroidered ribbon. When I was doing my MA, I spent time at Blythe House, near London’s Olympia, looking at Armenian textiles, and I was also lucky enough to visit the archives at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, which was amazing. I try to use second-hand materials because, as well as being better for the environment, their quality is hard to beat.
I spent a lot of time researching my Armenian heritage while at the Royal College of Art. Its folk costumes, everyday objects and landscapes are often referenced in my work, especially in the cut-out motifs, where each element has meaning. Thanks to my Armenian and British heritage, I have references that are a little different, which are most obvious in the colour combinations and materials I use.
Collaborating with other makers is a wonderful way to put my work into new contexts. I’ve recently teamed up with printed textile designer Claire de Quénetain to create six cushion designs using beautiful washed linens from The Hackney Draper in Clapton. They feature my appliqué and embroidery combined with Claire’s hand-painted materials. Claire lives in Brussels, so it’s a long-distance collaboration, which started with us exchanging ‘likes’ on Instagram.
I plan my day on the train journey from home to my Dalston studio. I like to do a little tidy before I start work, look at what I have on my moodboard and shift things around a bit to get ideas. Tea and podcasts are essential to help me get into the right frame of mind for the day ahead. I share my studio with my good friend Laura Gee. She’s a painter, so it’s nice to work alongside a like-minded creative. It’s great to be able to bounce ideas off one another.
I’m a hoarder of objects. There are lots of pieces in my home that I’ve bought from car-boot sales and charity shops over the years. They inspire me and inform my work. I collect ceramics, old textiles that I’ve picked up while travelling, antique mirrors, and books on plants, craft techniques and embroidery.
I work across several mediums, but they all feed into each other. My background is in set design, so I do a lot of work in paper, mainly making paper flowers. I like translating my signature style into different disciplines. I enjoy collaborating with individual makers and brands, too. I recently worked with Howe for London Craft Week and this month I’ll be hosting workshops with them, teaching traditional embroidery techniques. I try to take all of these strands and create something new that is unique to me and tells my story.”
See Lora’s designs at loraavedian.com and languageofflora.com.
Photography/ Alun Callender