Saturday, 12 July 2008

My Interview With blackbirdletterpress

blackbirdletterpress: Fun, Creative and Professional Services. That's what Etsy is all about. I was so inpressed with this new comer to Etsy, I just had to show the world. Glade to have you on Etsy Blackbird Letterpress! :)

Please you tell us about yourself and your back ground?

We met last summer after Jess moved to Baton Rouge from Montana, where Kathryn lived for ten years before moving down to Bayou Country. Kathryn taught Jess a bit about letterpress, and after we worked together on a few projects, we decided to partner up to create a product line for Kathryn’s business, Blackbird Letterpress.

Kathryn was trained as a printmaker and has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking from Montana State University and an MFA in printmaking from Louisiana State University. When she was in grad school for printmaking, she taught a book arts class in a small letterpress/book arts shop. To do that, she had to learn the letterpress process well enough to teach it. As soon as she finished school, she came upon a C&P press in a town close by and bought it, along with a truckload of type (from another printer). She started her business in her friends’ house in Lafayette, Louisiana.

Jessica was an art major for two years in college and planned to specialize in graphic design. She ended up quitting the program and getting other degrees instead. She then attended law school in Oregon, where she seriously craved a creative outlet. She started carving this rubbery stuff into stamps and making cards. Next she began carving lino blocks, teaching herself the technique mostly from library books. When she moved to Louisiana with her boyfriend (now husband), she looked Kathryn up, and since then she’s been learning all about letterpress!

Can you tell us a bit about your work and how did you start your etsy shop?

Kathryn started her business in 2003 and printed custom invitations and announcements for several years. When she relocated to Baton Rouge last year, she printed some cards and began selling them at the arts market downtown once a month. For these cards, she carved four bird designs in linoleum. She also used a real-live vintage spirograph to make the designs she printed on mod patterned paper. Jess carved three bold fossil linocuts, as well as some funky seaflowers, taking inspiration from her husband’s love of fossils. After we had some product on hand, we decided it was time to open a shop on etsy and see what happened.

What usually sparks off an idea?

Kathryn—Hmmm, that’s hard to narrow down to one or two things. I am interested in the metaphors of birds and then really good bold color, pattern, & design, from historic quilts to contemporary textile/wallpaper design to narrative folk art.

Jessica—Nature, most often. I love to take something that most people don’t see or notice and turn it into a bold image or pattern. I also get inspired by patterns I see, whether it’s in leaves, iron work, fabric, or paper.

Please tell us about your latest products:
Our most unique and popular new items are our flags. Kathryn designed four images of blackbirds sitting on a wire, and we screen printed them on bright fabric and sewed them together in a long strand. They’re kind of like prayer flags—they change with time and look great inside or out. We applied the same idea to paper flags and created two strands of brightly colored flags—one features three bold fossil block prints and the other has sweet chocolate cakes printed on bright colors.


prisma said...

Wonderful interview, Mimi! I ♥ Black Bird's shop~

Thanks again for posting my ad on your blog. ♥♥♥

jenscloset said...

Love the interview and the idea of interviews...I'm going to try it on my blog! thanks, Jen