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 little by little in that back room until it was bursting the seams. Blackbird now works out of a mural-clad building in Baton Rouge, which they share with a cool metalworking business and two frisky guard dogs. The printshop continues to expand with the addition of a Vandercook SP15, C&P 10x15, Heidelberg Windmill 10x15, a 30" paper cutter, flat files, and lots of other tools.
Kathryn Hunter 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.
Rebecca Kreisler earned an MFA in printmaking at LSU in 2011. She currently teaches at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette. See her work at rebeccakreisler.com.
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...