Inaugural Thin Ice Press PrintSoc Meeting

After the official launch of Thin Ice Press it is time to turn our attention to new and exciting endeavours. Recently we held the inaugural meeting of the new student printing society. The event was free, and required no experience or membership, so it was a great opportunity to open the studio to students from across all academic disciplines and show how a former redundant study space has been transformed in the last year.

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The Print Studio in January 2019
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The space in July 2018

We held two introductory activities. The first was to use our Albion press and receive a tour of the studio, and the second was an introduction to the history of printing in York and a crash course in setting metal type. The session was designed to give an insight into how students can use the studio and, we hope, to ignite an interest in the history of print. Few universities have access to such facilitates, so we believe it is vital to open up the studio and, at future events, let students experience the entire printing process and produce their own material.

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York was once home to a vibrant printing community and their shops, marked by the printer’s devil, can still be seen on Stonegate today. The early printers of York, like Thomas Gent, worked to preserve the history of the city and its surroundings, so it is wonderful to learn their working practices with current students and share a lesser known aspect of York’s history.

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We have since invited students to learn about metal type with Nick Gill and have even more events (including workshops, lino printing, collaborations, and talks) on the horizon. The society is open to all students at the University of York. For more information visit our page on the University of York Students’ Union (YUSU). Any questions, or to join our mailing list, please email: printsoc@yusu.org

Thank you to our YUSU activator Mi Chelle Cheah for taking photos during the event.

The launch of Thin Ice Press

On Thursday 24th January printers, staff, students and guests gathered to mark the official launch of Thin Ice Press. Guests moved between the print studio, English department and The Norman Rea Gallery, as we enjoyed a range of events, including: practical printing, talks, a letterpress exhibition, and even a printing bike!

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Photo credit: Fi Wong.

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Nick Hand and his traveling press. Photo credit: Fi Wong.

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Photo credit: Fi Wong.

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Sarah Griffin, Special Collections & York Minster Librarian, brought examples of early printed works. Photo credit: Fi Wong.
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Photo credit: Fi Wong.

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Thank you to all the contributing artists, everyone who has helped us on our journey so far and those who worked to make this event possible. Last but not least, thank you to everyone who attended – it was wonderful to see everyone sharing an appreciation for the art, our vision and the possibilities of letterpress.

The exhibition will be shown until the 7th February in The Norman Rea Gallery at the University of York. Check out their blog and Instagram for more information.

Crowdfunding Update & a Busy Week

Our first wonderful announcement is that, thanks to you generously donating and spreading the word about our crowdfunding campaign, we have hit our fundraising target! To find out how this will shape the future of Thin Ice Press click here and if you missed the crowdfunding deadline and still wish to donate you can do so here (please select ‘Other’ in the ‘Designation’ drop-down menu, and then type YuStart – Thin Ice Press into the box that appears).

To spread the word about our ambitions we welcomed members of the York Antiquarian Book Seminar into the studio. These guests were the first to see the space and it was brilliant to fill it with such enthusiasm.

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Members of the York Antiquarian Book Seminar in the studio.

We have also been out and about with our smallest press. The first of these events was the International Association of Bibliophiles visit to the University of York library. It was great to get involved with this event, talk about our project and in exchange see some interesting items from the Borthwick Archives.

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Illustrated journal created by a 9 year old, on display during the International Association of Bibliophiles visit to the University of York library.

The next day we headed to the 2018 York Book Fair. The event, at York Racecourse, featured over 220 bookdealers and is considered to be the largest rare and antiquarian book fair in the U.K. We took a stall by the entrance to entice people to chat and learn about our project as they waited in line to drop their bags.

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Thin Ice Press team members chat to visitors at the 2018 York Book Fair.

Over the weekend the University held Open Days. We took this opportunity to get back in the studio and open it up to prospective students. Everyone loved printing on the Adana during the July Open Days and this enthusiasm was seen again (such as people reacting to the magic of their first imprint) but now alongside three large iron presses and the fragments of the early 18th century common press. It was also lovely to give tours of the studio and chat about our plans to integrate the print studio into teaching, student societies and publishing over the coming academic year.

Getting involved with these communities has been so rewarding and we’ve realised just how many people have connections to letterpress, from those who had once set metal type (and now want to stay as far away from the fiddly stuff as possible!) to people whose ancestors had owned a press. All acknowledged our madness for embarking upon such an ambitious project but certainly share our joy in the revival. It’s been busy here at Thin Ice Press and, in light of our fundraising campaign, we’re eager for this to continue.

New Adana 8×5 & Open Days at the University of York

Last week we welcomed an Adana 8×5 to the Thin Ice Press. Below you can see some photos of the team gathered round our new press as we set it up and the first ever imprint!

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Learning how to set up, ink and clean the Adana
First imprint by the Thin Ice Press, at the University of York
The first imprint by the Thin Ice Press on our new Adana!

After viewing a wide range of presses at The Logan Press we began to realise how amazing it would be to own machines from different eras, allowing us to chart letterpress history. As the Adana is the first and most modern of our press collection it will allow us to extend that vision all the way from the 1700’s, with our common press, into the 1950’s with the Adana.

During our visit to The Logan Press we ordered three large iron presses so decided it would also be a good idea to have a more portable press, as the smallest iron press may be called a ‘table top’ Albion but it is far harder to transport in comparison to the much smaller Adana.

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Tabletop Albion Press
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The much smaller tabletop Adana

This will allow us to move the Adana around the University and even transport it to events – so we can tell people about the Thin Ice Press and the future of the project with a press alongside! Our first opportunity to try this out happened last weekend as the Adana arrived just in time for the University of York open days. We set it up in the English Department foyer so we could offer prospective students the exciting opportunity of hands on engagement with our first press, alongside chatting about the printing history of York and our future plans for the letterpress studio.

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Using the press at the University of York open day!

It was brilliant to see how much enthusiasm was created by our first and smallest press – we can’t imagine how excited people will be to see the finished studio and other presses! Follow our Twitter and Instagram for more project updates and a big thank you from the Thin Ice Press team to Caslon for the speedy delivery of our Adana.