Kathryn Hunter began Blackbird Letterpress in 2003 in Lafayette, Louisiana, after she bought a Chandler & Price 8x12 letterpress. Since she couldn't move the 1100lb press into her apartment, her friends, Pudd & Leigh Anne, came to the rescue by offering their back room as a printshop. The type came from a printer outside of Chicago. Pudd & Kathryn flew up to to the Windy city and loaded a couple tons of type and cabinets and other goodies out of a basement into a moving truck, and drove it back to Bayou Country. A collection of vintage printers' cuts came from a long time printer in New Iberia, Louisiana. The printshop grew up little by little in that back room from 2003-2007 until it was bursting the seams. Blackbird then worked out of a mural-clad building in Baton Rouge from 2007-2016, which they shared with a cool metalworking business and two frisky guard dogs. The printshop moved in Fall of 2016 and has expanded in space and equipment. We use the original C&P 8x12, along with a Vandercook SP15, C&P 10x15, and 2 Heidelberg Windmills. and have 2 new frisky guard dogs. You can see them by searching Instagram for #heartbuttjunior and #avathegirlscout.
Kathryn Hunter - Kathryn was trained as a printmaker and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from Montana State University, Bozeman, and a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge. She continues to make fine art when she's not busy keeping up with Blackbird, designing, printing, and performing other operational tasks. See her fine art work at kathrynhunterfineart.com. Her work is represented by LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans, LA.
Becca Lee Sherman- Studio Manager- Becca received a Bachelor of Music and Business Administration from Louisiana State University. In her free time, she plays violin with various ensembles throughout Louisiana.
Thien-Kieu Lam - Printer and assembler- Kieu is an artist and a knitwear designer of patterns for hand knitters. View her work and musings at thienkieulam.com.
Dawn Black- Designer and studio assistant- Dawn is a fine artist who has shown her work all over the world. See her artwork at dawnblack.com.
Masy Chighizola- Studio assistant- Masy is a fine art printmaker. She makes linocut fine art and wearables at pressreliefprints.com.
Elise Lassonde- (on maternity leave) Designer and studio assistant- Elise has a Bachelor degree in Graphic Design from Université du Québec à Montréal (2004) and a M.I.S from Université de Montréal (2006). She has been responsible for the heritage collections of prints, book bindings, artists’ books and bibliophile books at Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec since 2007 and is currently doing a residency at Blackbird Letterpress . She is particularly interested in printing processes, reading dynamics and the democratization of printed art.
Sadly, the original guard/shop dogs are all gone now. But they are captured perfectly in the video below. But be warned, it can be a little scary...