Saraiya Kanning

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Saraiya Kanning holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. She encountered silk painting while minoring in art studio as an undergraduate at Colorado College and was instantly captivated by the vibrant medium. Kanning leads creative writing workshops in elementary schools through the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s Writing the Community program and has taught undergraduate fiction writing workshops at the UA. In 2012, Kanning received a grant that enabled her to explore the intersection of words and visual art while watercolor journaling at sites such as Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Her silk paintings can be found at

Artist Statement

Though familiar with a variety of mediums, I find silk painting especially thrilling. With so many choices of technique, it seems there are endless secrets to unlock. Each painting yields new insights into the process. Silk painters use resist to fence in dye for a stained-glass effect, or they starch the fabric and paint as they would with watercolor. Dyes can be further moved into patterns using salt, alcohol, or water. I am passionate about painting wildlife, landscapes, and other ecological subjects. In the classroom, I seek to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual support and friendship while inspiring students with curiosity and joy through art making. Whether you consider yourself experienced or a beginner on the artistic path, I’ll meet you there. We’ll walk together and explore the dynamic world of silk painting!