McClain’s Summer Newsletter

September 11th, 2015

The summer season has flown by at McClain’s. Summer months are typically a mellow period for us, a time to play catch up around the shop …but not this year! This has been the busiest summer on record, which means a lot of you are working on making those ideas of yours a reality. We are so grateful that you choose McClain’s as a resource for your printmaking and artist materials. Thank you for supporting McClain’s!

Moku Hanga with Alex Prentiss and Printmaking Open Studio with Daniel Jasa


Alex Prentiss, owner of McClain’s Printmaking Supplies, has started to teach workshops in the Portland metro area and she is gearing up for another Moku Hanga class at the Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) this November; there are still spaces available! In fact, it was at OCAC that Alex took her first Japanese woodblock printmaking class and met former McClain’s owner Elaine Chandler, from whom she bought the business in 2001.

Daniel Jasa hosts Printmaking Open Studio sessions at Atelier Meridian of Portland on Tuesday evenings from 6 – 9 pm, where he is happy to share his knowledge of these printmaking techniques. If you are in the area, this session requires no pre-registration but there is a limit of 8 students. The cost is $15 per session.

“Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop”

vollmer-book-webWe are excited to announce that April Vollmer’s book Japanese Woodblock Print Workshop: A Modern Guide to the Ancient Art of Mokuhanga is now available from McClain’s. Vollmer’s book is an inspirational how-to handbook on the history and techniques of moku hanga by one of the best known printmakers in the west.

Teaching since 1998, Vollmer combines her deep knowledge with expert instruction, creating a useful guide for beginning printmakers and serious moku hanga artists. The book clearly and concisely gives step-by-step illustrated explanations of technique and practical information about combining moku hanga with other printmaking styles. It includes a comprehensive guide to traditional tools and materials as well as featuring an inspiring collection of prints by international contemporary printmakers, as well as Vollmer’s own work.

McClain’s Visits Gamblin Artist Colors

group-gamblin-webEvery once in a while we take a field trip and this time we took a tour of Gamblin Artist Colors with product manager and color expert Scott Gellatly . Our tour started out with the raw pigments, which come from all over the world. We learned that all of Gamblin’s printmaking relief inks are made from single pigments except for PDX Intense Black (they add a little Prussian Blue to make it a richer color). Earth pigments are often from the U.S., cadmiums from the U.K., and many others are from Europe.

The pigments and oil are then mixed together in huge industrial mixers to form a paste. They are left for at least one day, sometimes three or four days depending on the pigment and how readily it wants to combine with oil. Then it is time for the three-part milling process. The mill forces the oil into contact with the particles of pigment. The paste goes from matte to very smooth and satiny as it runs through the rollers. The rollers are adjusted for different pigments. Draw downs and tests for ink smoothness are made with every batch.

Gamblin is dedicated to their craft and we thoroughly enjoyed getting a behind the scenes look at what goes into the manufacturing of the inks we carry.

Tool Sharpening Services

It happens to everyone at some point in time. You notice your tools are not carving as well as they once did. It is time to sharpen your tools. If you purchased your woodcut carving tools from McClain’s we offer a Professional Tool Sharpening Service where we send the tools back to Japan to the craftsmen who made them for expert sharpening. The cost is only $6.00 per tool plus a little extra for shipping your tool(s) from McClain’s back to you. Our next shipment to Japan for the tool sharpening service is September 31st. Plan ahead as it can take up to 6-8 weeks for tools to arrive back from Japan.

Sale Page

Check out the McClain’s Sale Page for overstock items and slow sellers. Right now we have included slightly damaged Arches 88, McClain’s Aprons, and odd size Shina Plywood blocks in packs of 6 and 12. Sizes include 3.5” x 3.5”, 5.75” x 8”, and 3.75” x 4.875”.



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