McClure at Olympia Timberland Library, 2009
McClure grew up in Kirkland, Washington. She moved to Olympia in 1986 to attend The Evergreen State College where she studied natural history and received B.S. and B.A. degrees in 1991. She would take walks in the forest, making up songs and singing them loudly; sometimes performing them at house shows. She rented a studio near K Records and experimented with linocuts. Following her graduation, she took a job at the Washington Department of Ecology. There she created her first children's book, Wetlands. It is still published by the Washington State Department of Ecology.
McClure creates papercuts using an X-Acto knife in a style partially inspired by Works Progress Administration posters. Her early work involved creating t-shirts and album artwork for friends and Olympia bands such as Sleater-Kinney. She worked with the indie record labels Kill Rock Stars and K Records and was associated with the riot grrrl movement. She sang onstage during the 1991 International Pop Underground Convention, and one of her songs was included on the vinyl edition of the Convention's live album.
Beginning in 1998, McClure began producing an annual calendar. She has authored and illustrated a number of children's books. McClure allows non-profits to use her work with permission and has created works for Patagonia and Slow Food Nation. She also created a manhole cover design for Olympia's stormwater.
Her work has been showcased in an exhibition called Nikki McClure: Cutting Her Own Path, 1996–2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Bellevue Arts Museum. Her children's book about farmers' markets, To Market, To Market, won the 2012 Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award.
McClure has a son and lives in Olympia, Washington with her partner Jay T. Scott.
At Kurt Cobain's request, McClure danced onstage at Nirvana's 1991 Live at the Paramount concert.
- Wetlands (1991)
- Apple (1996)
- How to Cook a Perfect Day (1997)
- Sent Out on the Tracks They Built, written by Sarah Dougher, (1998)
- Solitude (1998)
- The Great Chicken Escape (1998)
- Ten First Graders, monotype, (2000)
- Conmigo (2001)
- C2C (2001)
- This Yearning (2002)
- Welcome (2004)
- In Between (2004)
- The First 1000 Days (2006, Sasquatch)
- Awake to Nap (2006, Sasquatch)
- Collect Raindrops (2007, Abrams)
- Things to Make and Do (2008, Sasquatch)
- All in a Day written by Cynthia Rylant, (2009, Abrams)
- Mama, Is It Summer Yet? (2010, Abrams)
- To Market, To Market (2011)
- How to Be a Cat (2013)
- Beckerman, Chad W. (February 11, 2009). "Interview Adventure Series: Nikki McClure". Mishaps and Adventures.
- Marcus, Sara (2010). Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution (1st ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 37. ISBN 978-0-06-180636-0.
- Houng, Cynthia (June 12, 2007). "Interview: Nikki McClure". Fecal Face.
- Gilmore, Molly (May 23, 2010). "Living her dreams". The Olympian.
- "Wetlands: Publication Summary". Washington State Department of Ecology. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Gwinn, Mary Ann (January 14, 2013). "Artist Nikki McClure cuts her own path". The Seattle Times.
- Ohanesian, Liz (May 12, 2010). "Interview: Nikki McClure on Illustrating with an X-Acto Knife". LA Weekly.
- Lary, Nina (July 2010). "Not your Grandma's knitting circle: artist Nikki McClure and the revival of handcrafting". Curve. Retrieved 12 October 2013. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
- Nikki McClure at Discogs
- "Nikki McClure: Cutting Her Own Path, 1996–2011". Pacific Northwest College of Art. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- Bell, Ifanyi (August 25, 2011). "Papercut Artist Nikki McClure". OPB.
- Gwinn, Mary Ann (September 7, 2012). "Washington State Book Award winners announced". The Seattle Times.
- Official website
- Northwest Passages: Cynthia Rylant and Nikki McClure (audio), Think Out Loud. OPB. January 21, 2010.
- Video of McClure at Evergreen State College as part of their Artist Lecture Series