Down and dirty at Cal, ink up to their elbows

“Les Ferriss spread printer’s ink on a sheet of glass and its scent filled the room. A half-dozen UC Berkeley students scrutinized his every move. Soon, they would be learning a little of his craft. ‘This is the same roller I used when I took this class a quarter-century ago,’ said Ferriss, who now teaches the very same course.

That’s how little has changed in ‘The Hand-Printed Book in its Historical Context,’ one of Cal’s most popular and unusual offerings. Students in the class, which takes place in the newly renovated Bancroft Library, learn to set type and to print a small book with an 1856 Albion hand press. By the end of the semester, they will produce 35 copies – all coveted, none for sale. One will become part of the Bancroft’s permanent collection.

The course also gives students an introduction to the history of books, printing and graphic design over the last 500 years, and allows them to see, smell and touch the Bancroft’s rare manuscripts.” – Patricia Yollin, Chronicle Staff Writer

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