Alaskan artist Janaan Kitchen has been producing fine art batiks since 1973, during which time she has received more than 100 first place and juror’s choice awards for her work.
Although proficient in encaustics, oils, watercolors and acrylics, as well as the creation of unique jewelry, Janaan is best known for her batiks. She has a piece of work in the permanent collection of the Anchorage Museum of History and Art and has been selected for the Alaska “One Percent for Art” program in several public institutions, including a 48-foot mural in Crooked Creek School.
Janaan’s batiks are created on fabric or, more recently, paper, using modern fiber-reactive dyes and a combination of hot waxes. Each batik is made by drawing the subject on the fabric or paper, applying melted wax to resist the dyes, and dying the piece in successively darker colors until the desired result is obtained.
Janaan may be the only artist worldwide to work with batik on paper, a very delicate process requiring thin “rice paper” which, although strong when dry, is extremely fragile when wet. She produces these “paper batiks” the same traditional way as those on fabric. Finished batiks usually are matted and framed under glass or acrylic.
In Alaska, original batiks by Janaan can be found in Ptarmigan Arts Gallery in Homer and Spirit Mountain Gallery in Chitina, as well as other fine galleries in the state and the western U.S.