Field Trip: Blackbird Letterpress

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Every so often, the BBR Creatives pile into my 4Runner for a good old-fashioned road trip. It makes for a lovely getaway with a purpose — and provides for a nice creative experience beyond the white walls and Mac screens that make up our art department. This past Friday, we set our sights eastward, venturing across the Atchafalaya to Baton Rouge where we paid a visit to Kathryn Hunter over at Blackbird Letterpress.

Kathryn set up shop in 2003 as a means to make professional prints of her artwork. Eventually, she would learn that there would be a market for her unique artistic touch. Customers would approach her, asking her to create design and print projects ranging from promotional materials including posters to wedding invitations and business cards. Her expanded archive of vintage blocks along with her ability to cut original patterns has made Blackbird Letterpress a clever option for unique printing results.

We were thrilled to see the process in action, rummage through her blocks, and view first-hand a large sampling of her work. Manning a bulky metal press (circa 1904), Kathryn plates and prints each piece, feeding paper individually while using a pedal for control. Her work requires a lot of effort and a lot of patience, but it was quite obvious she wouldn’t have it any other way.

On the return trip to Lafayette, we decided to take the scenic route. This meant crossing the very old, very tall Huey P. Long Bridge, which, honestly, counts as an adventure in itself. Choosing this path also afforded us the ability to stop by Eddie’s old haunt, Bada’s. For those who’ve never had the pleasure, Bada’s is a dancehall / poolhall / all-purpose watering hole where, on Saturdays, patrons are invited to bring their boats and their volleyballs.

We put a few coins in the pool table, drank a beer and soaked up the ambience created by what was clearly a head-banger’s jukebox. We felt a tad out of place, but our bartender seemed tickled enough. Perhaps it was my red shoes or the fact that Tim looks like a Jonas brother. Either way, Bada’s now holds a special place in the creative team’s collective heart.

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