The Team

Helen Smith

helen-smithI’m a Professor of Renaissance Literature and Head of the Department of English and Related Literature. I’ve always loved books as things, as well as as fictions — and especially beautiful books, whether that means fine printing and artist’s books or mass-market paperbacks and the accidents of cheap print. A lot of my research is about the early years of printing, and especially women’s roles in printing, publishing, editing and bookselling. And I’m fascinated by the way Renaissance printers experimented with the shape of the book, and the possibilities of the page. So I’m really excited to be realising a long-held dream in setting up a press, and am looking forward to experimenting and learning more about the constraints and the imaginative possibilities of letterpress.

JT Welsch

jt-welschI’m a Lecturer in English and Creative Industries in the Department of English and Related Literature. I’ve taught a number of modules on publishing and book culture over the years. Although we discuss the impact of digital technologies on contemporary publishing, I always look forward to bringing in my favourite examples of fine printing and innovative book design – and I’m always delighted by how many students share my love of print. I’m also a poet, and the material qualities of the book often figure into my writing process. I’ve worked with small publishers on hand-made editions of my own collections in the past, but I can’t wait to start experimenting in York’s Print Studio!

Nick Gill photoNick Gill 

I’m a North Yorkshire-based hot metal typesetter, typefounder, letterpress printer, and the owner of Effra Press & Typefoundry. My work as a letterpress printer began fourteen years ago with Phil Abel’s Hand & Eye Letterpress in London. I’ve always been interested in books and bookmaking, and I’ve worked on a wide range of book projects as a typesetter and printer. In 2019, I joined Thin Ice Press as a part-time printer-in-residence to offer hands-on letterpress training for our printing team, teach printing workshops for PrintSoc and the English department, and oversee the Press’s major printing projects.

Sierra Carter

I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of English and Related Literature, and ISierra Photo work as the part-time administrative assistant for Thin Ice Press. My thesis considers the manuscript and print cultures of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English playhouses, so having the opportunity to witness the activities of a working press has been a hugely informative and rewarding experience. I’m particularly interested in overlaps between manuscript and print. This interest informs one of my ongoing administrative projects, which includes collecting an array of working documents, wastepaper, and finished prints to create a rich archive of Thin Ice’s teaching activities, publications, and collaborations that outlines the physical and creative labours of letterpress printing.


Lizzy Holling

lizzy-hollingI’m Lizzy, an English Literature undergrad here at York. I’m fascinated by transitional periods of written and oral communication, which is why I’m doing my dissertation on the Gutenberg Parenthesis and why I’m so excited to be involved with a project that aims to explore and revive historic printing techniques. Through creating and managing the online presence of Thin Ice Press I hope to drum up interest for this lesser known aspect of York’s history, taking inspiration from the enthusiasm York’s early printers had for the city and in turn preserving their lives and work.

Rachel Cameron-Potter

rachel-team-picI’m Rachel, an undergraduate studying English at York. My core interests lie in literature across the ages and local history, so when the opportunity to learn more about York’s printing history with Thin Ice Press arose, I jumped at the chance. As Fundraising Lead, I’m looking forward to creating a buzz around the press, providing an opportunity for everyone, from students to alumni, to booksellers and artists, to get actively involved, becoming a part of York’s printing history as it is revived in our studio.

Seth Gottlieb

seth-gottliebI’m a master’s student at the University of Manchester studying History of Science, Technology and Medicine. I’m currently researching mid-20th-century architecture, but my background is in researching the impact of early print technologies on the workflow and final product of the printing process. I’ve built a wooden common press once before, which probably makes me the youngest living person to have made more than one! I’m from the U.S. and am easy to pick out of the team– just find the one with the weird accent.

Carla Suthren

carla-suthrenI’ve recently finished my PhD thesis on Shakespeare and Greek Tragedy at the University of York. I am very interested in early printing history and the history of the book, and particularly the development of Greek printing in Europe and England in the sixteenth century. Helping to build a wooden common press is an absolute dream for me!

Olivia Jones

olivia-jonesI’m a Masters student at the University of York’s Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, so I’m thrilled that our common press is a replica of that used by eighteenth-century York printer Thomas Gent. After having read so many texts from the period, it’s fascinating to learn more about the physical nature of books, newspapers and pamphlets. You can generally find me surrounded by eighteenth-century fiction however, this project will see me spending some time away from the library and getting hands-on with the practicalities of turning Thin Ice Press into a reality.

Megan Kilvington

megan-kilvingtonI’m an MA student in the Medical Humanities, a museum enthusiast and York native. I’ve always had a passion for local history so I was delighted to find out that this project is inspired by Thomas Gent, a well-known printer of York. I’m particularly interested in the journey of Gent’s printing life and how print both shaped and expressed his identity, from his initial success to his decline into illness and poverty. I am fascinated by the surviving Gent press, as this along with his original prints provide a physical dimension to the history of his life.

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