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Darinka Lapajne Rakuart SlovenijaDarinka Lapajne is attracted to earth – in all its forms, and that is why she has chosen it to be the material of her expression. She kneads, rolls and moulds it, shaping it into a variety of dishes, bowls, plates, light stands, relief pictures, clocks, and mirror frames. When she is changing a malleable, responsive mass into a solid aggregate state, she most often makes use of a special spirit known as rάku. Rάku is a term used to designate a type of ceramic that originated in Japan at the end of the 15th century.

Darinka Lapajne Rakuart SlovenijaThe results and effects of the rάku technique are based on the procedure of deoxidising glowing objects, which  was once used solely in the making of teacups. In western countries this procedure acquired  new dimensions and became a mode of artistic expression. For reduction, Darinka Lapajne  primarily uses sawdust and leaves, both of which burn poorly and create sufficient smoke. And smoke is an important part of the creative process, in which a creation finally matures  and achieves noble effects. A look at the newly created work is indeed surprising and above  all delightful, revealing the results of a game being played by the qualities of soil and the effect of spirit, the work of human hands, skill and chance.

Darinka Lapajne Rakuart SlovenijaThe artist thus concludes her creative socialising with four mythological elements: fire, water, earth and air. Her opus also features the bare rάku technique, which requires a soft, light reduction.  The ceramic creations of Darinka Lapajne are decorative, often also applicable, or all in one, since artistic-expressive values also establish the dimension of beauty.  Although form is dominant in ceramics, as in sculpting, colour is equally important to the artist. She loves to colour things and in this way additionally complements or accentuates the language of shapes, or uses colours to move closer to the »state« of nature and its beauties. The glazes applied in the process mostly belong to the oxides of different metals. 

She achieves an exceptional tactile nobility and charm using a technique called »terra sigillata«, which was discovered and esteemed by ancient cultures (Minoans, Indians, ...). This special coating closes all pores in clay, creating a beautiful, satin-like »cover«. The creations are smooth and silky-velvety to the touch.  

Darinka Lapajne Rakuart SlovenijaThe artist always devotes special attention to surface treatment. The effects she achieves stem from the burning technique itself, from subsequent treatments (smoothings), and  among her original solutions is also the use of bobbin lace, which is becoming a kind of emblem of her work with ceramics. She skilfully incorporates the lace into the plane so that it becomes part of the form. These are patterns of completed shapes, esthetic perfection, gentle structures, special texture, and carefully selected colour values that even allow a touch of ceremoniousness to sneak into the creations. The concave and convex surfaces of diverse,  sensually taut dishes, vases, plates and light stands acquire a wonderful fragment of refined,  filigree activity both on the surface and in materiality itself, into which an impression reaches.  The concentrate with its tactile attractiveness represents a true contrast to the smoothened  whole, and its values are thus even more distinctively expressed.  

With colour being one of the indispensable artistic elements of Darinka Lapajne, only one  more step was necessary for her to enter the realm of creating »pictures made of clay« or  reliefs, which are an important part of her opus. The clay plate is the surface on which she moulds illustrative elements related primarily to landscape motifs. Particularly convincing are her relief interpretations of water, where her immersion into the depths of rivers or the  sea is a source of picturesque artistic pleasures. To approach reality even more distinctively,  she decides to use glazes with which she incorporates suggestive colour values into her depictions.  Clay plates are also the bearers of a special pattern, a pattern of esthetic perfection and  harmony, resulting in an equilibrium which, like a »mandala«, bestows upon the viewer a  moment of appeasement, and allowing the author to employ an infinite number of colouristic  variations. The entirely new colour relations are so dominant that they give each creation an  entirely different identity. 

 History lives in the ceramic opus of Darinka Lapajne. Incorporated in her opus like »holy objects« are laces that speak of ethnological heritage and also indirectly touch on the artist's roots. But above all, the creations are an inseparable part of the artist herself – a sensitive  artistic creator who uses clay to unveil her view of reality and her spiritually rich inner world.

 Anamarija Stibilj Šajn

 Art Historian