letterpress

Prints are handprinted
on the Bede-Hibbitt press,
made in Portland, Oregon!

about

Red Bat Press is a small art press located in Portland, Oregon featuring the art and design work of artist Carye Bye. The press was officially introduced in September 2002. During the previous year, Carye Bye made her postcards and blank books under the name "Carye the Bee Wood-cuts" which she sold at the monthly Last Thursday art crawls on NE Alberta.

 

The name, Red Bat comes from the first postcard of a series of 8 animal cards. According to Chinese symbolic tradition, bats are symbols of good fortune. The word for 'luck' in Chinese is , and the word for bat is bian fú. Red Bats are especially lucky because the color red is protective against misfortune.

 

Luck, folklore, and word-play are all themes Red Bat Press is interested in.

 

Hand-printed pictures matched with words are also the focus. The pictures are original wood-cuts designed and hand-carved by Carye Bye. Many of the pictures are also hand-colored. Words are hand-set metal type printed on a letterpress.

 

While the framework for Red Bat Press will always be changing, so far the intent of the Press is to make mailable art such as postcards and small blank books, as well as cards & printed items for the "fringe" holidays of Halloween, New Years, and Valentine's Day.

 

 


carye bye
photo by Kristi Joy Falkowski
artist's bio

 

Carye Bye was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, but grew up just outside of Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1980s. In 1984 her family returned to Minnesota for the rest of her formative years. When attending Augsburg College in Minneapolis, she dabbled in all sorts of art and visual histories. She specialized in b/w photography, relief printmaking, and art history on campus, but she spent a lot of time off-campus in the community. She taught photography and zine workshops to the charter school students in the neighborhood, including immersing herself in an intense half-year program called City Arts which focused on art and social change. Also, for one year, she lived abroad in Cork, Ireland delighted by Irish monk beehive huts, the Book of Kells, and traveling by the way of the thumb.

 

After college, Bye set her eyes on San Francisco, eager to live near the ocean. She worked at the Maritime Museum, and to amuse herself and the pier staff she created window displays that visually and uniquely told the history of the sea. On her walks home she often stopped in Chinatown and was drawn to a red bat paper kite, which later became the name of her art press. She printed her first impression in a letterpress printing class at the New College. Her first big printing project was "The Pea-green Chair," a chapbook with a long poem and woodcuts. Living in the Mission in San Francisco was a beautiful and rich experience, but it never felt like home. Portland, Oregon, Bye was told, was the Minneapolis of the West, and only and hour and half away from the ocean.

 

Carye Bye has lived in Portland since 2001 and has enjoyed creating a life of artmaking through Red Bat Press which celebrates 10 years in 2012. She got her start at the Independent Publishing Resource Center and is thankful for the supportive community she got to know there as a member and later as staff. For several years, Bye set up a studio printshop at her residence and in 2011 she moved to a commercial workspace under the Hawthorne Bridge.

 

Never without a side project, Bye also is Portland's Local Museum Lady (LMC) with Hidden Portland, the curator of the Bathtub Art Museum, and has developed a love of Bike Fun and organizes a variety of themed-bike rides throughout each year.