Art Historian Robert "Bob" McClain and his wife, University Professor of Japanese Language and Literature Dr. Yoko McClain, collected original prints during their visits to Japan. They would bring both prints and art supplies back to enjoy themselves and to sell to friends. In the late 1970's, Bob realized he could create a business that would allow him to promote moku hanga (the Japanese style of printmaking) plus give him more time to make prints himself. During the 1980's Robert McClain Japanese Prints & Supplies quickly became recognized as the leading supplier of superior quality art materials for moku hanga in the U.S.
In 1991, after Bob McClain's death, Elaine Chandler purchased the printmaking materials part of the business. Elaine renamed the business McClain's Printmaking Supplies in honor of its founder. A well known and respected printmaker herself, Elaine taught moku hanga workshops and promoted Japanese tools and materials to other instructors and schools around the country. In 1996 she sponsored an exhibit of contemporary woodblock prints by prominent artists from the U.S. and Canada that toured schools and galleries along the west coast. Elaine also expanded McClain's to include materials for other forms of relief printmaking, including linoleum and wood engraving supplies.
In February 2001, Elaine sold McClain's to Alex Prentiss, a former student. Alex's background is in library science, retail sales, and technical writing and illustrating. On the art side, she is an experienced letterpress printer, book artist and woodblock printmaker.
McClain's staff includes Alex's husband, Richard Gaunt. Richard has been cutting wood blocks and making bench hooks since 2001. Now he mans phones and packs orders too. An experienced wood worker and luthier, when you have questions about sharpening tools, he's the one to ask.
Ema Aultman joined McClain's in January 2006 after graduating from the Oregon College of Art and Craft with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. She is the editor of McClain's Newsletter, Facebook and Twitter pages. New daughter Zella and working with husband Joel on their business Kablamindustries takes up the rest of her time.
After graduating from the University of Oregon with an MFA in printmaking, Josh Hulst was hired in July, 2007. His work can be seen at his web site, www.joshhulst.com. He is an expert in all areas of western style printmaking and will happily answer your questions about inks, brayers and much more.
New guy Chris joined McClain's in August 2009. A graduate of Portland State University's printmaking department and past intern at Mahaffey Fine Art, Chris is fast becoming an accomplished moku hanga printer as well as an expert on all of McClain's printmaking supplies.
Under Alex's leadership, McClain's continues to offer the high quality service, tools and printmaking materials that have made it a leading supplier for relief printers both here and abroad for over 30 years. Our purpose is to help relief printmakers find the materials and support they need to reach their printmaking goals.