Through these mentors, Drain developed a sound foundation in western leather and silver. His work also gives a respectful nod to the late Francis Harry and Dan Murray.
“After working a year and a half for a wholesale silver company I opened a shop of my own in 1975. My work consists mostly of custom buckles and saddle trimmings. I have tried to be creative in designing my work so it incorporates the personal wishes of the customer. This creative process might take several drawings before both the client and myself settle on a design.”
As a young man, Drain visited Japan, and acknowledges the influence of the clean spare lines of Oriental design in his art. “Tsubas, Japanese sword guards, are of special interest to me because of their outstanding design and craftsmanship,” Drain said. Oriental metal work and a long time respect for blacksmithing have led him, in recent years, to add bits and buckles worked in steel to his repertoire.
He believes that work is some of his most original and creative. These things added a further element of challenge to his mastery of silver and goldsmithing and complemented his bold, unmistakable style of hand engraving.
In a review in Southwest Art, Drain explained his engraving style. “I try to execute pleasing curves and scrolls that flow smoothly The design has to start somewhere and then move with overall smoothness and consistency. The key is that all elements balance nicely.”
Featured in exhibitions throughout the country, Drain’s work has been highly prized by collectors for many years. He received the 1998 Will Rogers Award as Engraver of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists and is a recent graduate of the Washington State Agriculture and Forestry Leadership Foundation. He remains active in his family’s timber and land company while also being considered one of today’s master engravers.
Mailing AddressMark Drain
280 West Rimrock Ranch Road
Shelton, WA 98584