You can’t help but smile when you’re around Janja Šestan Diklić, or when you visit her home studio bustling with fanciful characters and brightly colored ceramic houses, flowers, birds, and butterflies.
Janja is the creator and owner of Doda Keramika ceramics studio. She initially studied civil engineering, and worked for 15 years in the field. However, judging by her books and the artwork around her home, it is evident she has always loved art. When she saw that there was a class in ceramics being offered locally, she tried it and was hooked. She followed her heart and started working in handmade ceramics full-time.
Each whimsical creation comes from her imagination and is individually hand-formed. She enjoys trying new ideas, and showed me new projects on a shelf in her studio that were sitting out to dry so they could be fired in her kiln. After the forms come out of the kiln, Janja hand-paints them with colorful details, bringing tiny villages and polka-dot flowers to life. From start to finish, she said the process takes weeks.
Janja has lived all her life in Rijeka, and loves being close to her family. She often walks with her husband, Đorđe, and their daughter, following the pathways that meander around the hills, climb up to the hilltop fortress of Trsat, and wind down to the busy Rijeka city center on the harbor. She says she can’t imagine living anywhere else.