Roberta Lavadour

Instagram: @robertalavadour


Roberta Lavadour lives and works in rural Eastern Oregon, in a town better known for wool blankets and a large rodeo than contemporary art. She’s been exhibiting artist’s books for more than 20 years and has been recognized as an Oregon Arts Fellow by the Oregon Arts Commission and an Honored Artist of Eastern Oregon by the Eastern Oregon Regional Arts Council (now ArtsEast). She has been a featured presenter at notable national book arts venues, including the Guild of Book Workers Standards of Excellence seminar, Paper and Book Intensive, and Focus on Book Arts. She served for several years on the editorial board of the Guild of Book Workers Journal and has contributed to many publications that showcase work in her field. Her work resides in museum and special library collections across the country and in several international venues. She publishes her work under the Mission Creek Press imprint. Full CV is available at


My ongoing fascination with the book as a vehicle for personal exploration and material experimentation feeds an active and fruitful artistic practice. My rampant curiosity leads me to explore diverse themes inspired by everything from rummage sale finds to my tangled family history. Like most artists, a strange array of objects inhabit my studio, often lingering for years, waiting for the right project to bring them together.

My work is often a collaboration with my younger self, as handmade paper crafted decades earlier is woven into a contemporary work, or as projects set aside are revisited. Missed deadlines, studio fails and endless experimentation work to move a large body of work forward, like a three dimensional game of leap frog.

While the body of work is diverse and dynamic, it is tied together by a love of all things related to the book.


Spirit Guide, 2022
Printmaking paper dyed with reclaimed ditto masters, sewn into a modified stab binding with typed, tipped-in text.
Edition of three copies with custom protective enclosure.
7 1/2” (h) x 4 7/8” (w) x 3/4” (d) when closed.


I spent my early years in a 
subdivision in Southern California 
that was so bland that when I went 
to someone’s house where their 
mom used Miracle Whip instead 
of mayonnaise, it blew my mind. 

The one burst of color I feel an 
authentic connection to is the 
deep purple of the ditto machine. 

British chemist Sir William Henry 
Perkin inadvertently invented the 
dye while trying to synthesize a 
treatment for malaria. 

On the days I was chosen to walk 
to the resource room and bring 
copies back to class, I huffed on 
that stack of papers so hard. 

That walk down the hall, that color, 
that smell—even that British guy, 
those are mine. 

Hands That Feed, 2022
Twenty-four 3-color silk-screen prints guarding reclaimed account book pages from the local grain co-op, circa 1930-50. Prints finished with a light graphite application. Sewn in a link stitch using waxed linen with sewn-in boards. Public domain image from the Sturgis Collection, showing a cook wagon that was hauled out to fields to feed harvest crews in Eastern Oregon.
One of a kind with custom protective enclosure.
4 7/8” (h) x 4 7/8” (w) x 2 3/4” (d) when closed.

Solitary Bee, 2019
Accordion book comprised of handmade paper crafted by the artist from local fibers, embellished with a variety of embroidery stitches.
One of a kind with custom protective enclosure.
5” (h) x 4” (w) x 1.75 (d) when closed.

Democracy Discarded, 2020
1930’s children’s book on democracy altered into an accordion book with laminated translucent reclaimed report covers. Strategic color placement reveals a sharp critique of contemporary political discourse.
One of a kind with custom protective enclosure.
9” (h) x 6 1/2” (w) x 3/4” (d) when closed.

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