New classes offered on old technology

Last century tech

Maine Media Workshops in the Northeast usually focus on 21st-century technology, but organizers recently decided to take a giant step … backwards.

A new series this spring at the program in Rockport, Maine, will teach students how to bind books and operate 19th-century printing presses.

“We’re seeing resurgent interest in historical processes,” Meg Weston, the school’s president, tells the Press Herald in Portland. “People want to learn how to make things by hand again. The idea of creating something by hand means a lot in our society today.”

The program begins June 12 when the program its book art and alternative process photography studio. The Press Herald reports that the program has taught 19th-century crafts before in individual workshops, but some classes have doubled in size year to year — making it possible to expand the curriculum.

According to the paper, the program received a donation of presses and other equipment from its former president, Charles Altschul, and raised about $250,000 to renovate the necessary building space.

“Though we live in a technological age, I have found that our students want to participate in making something of their own that is real and substantial,” Brenton Hamilton, a member of the faculty, tells the paper. “Perhaps making something with one’s own hands lends toward a re-found authenticity.”