We had the good fortune of connecting with Ora Jana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ora, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
As a mother, finding balance is so important. We know that our children come first no matter what but finding time to pursue those other things that really light you up inside is crucial. My art and work bring me so much joy and I am grateful every day for that. I am also able to shift the balance and put my projects on hold when my family needs me. I have never felt as creative and inspired as I do at this time in my life and this is also the busiest time in my life with two young and very energetic boys.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I know I’m not the only woodworking mother, but I don’t know anyone personally who does what I do. I also don’t know anyone else who is a woodworker, metalsmith, fiber artist, furniture refinisher, painter, seamstress, and mother. I am extremely proud that I decided to try woodworking without having very much prior knowledge or training. I think that being a mother has made me a lot braver and willing to try and possibly fail at more. It is important that I show my sons that passion, effort and perseverance go a long way to achieve your dreams. For many years, I got in my own way a lot and doubted my ability to have a career doing what I love despite all of the support and encouragement from friends and family. I love when people say that I inspire them to try something new and when people ask if there is anything I can’t do. I am certainly exploring every possible project that interests me. My husband jokes about my inability to focus on one project at a time but I say this is just my process. This weekend I built a fence in our back yard, refinished our neighbor’s dresser, did some sewing and started a vertical succulent wall. I usually have multiple projects going on at once and I like it that way. I move around the house depending on where my kids are playing so I like having something to work on in every quadrant of the house.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If my best friend came to visit for a week, I would take her to my favorite areas of town. On the list would be Pacific Beach because I lived there for 8 years when I first moved to San Diego from Arizona. I have so many happy memories of riding my bike on the boardwalk from Tourmaline to Mission Beach. We would have to ride the roller coaster at Belmont Park. We would head over to Seaport Village and take a picture in front of the 5 foot tall Seaport letters I made last year and then take a boat over to Coronado for a true tourist experience. We would have drinks out on the deck over the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado. I would have to plan a spa day at my favorite resort and spa, Rancho Valencia. Not only do my husband and I love to staycation at Rancho Valencia, but I was also fortunate enough to build 15 planter boxes and 3 outdoor tables for their new farm to table event space. For a day of shopping and lunch, we would go to Flower Hill Promenade and take in all of the local artist murals, see my 9 foot tall wooden California art, and have lunch at one of my favorites, Flower Child. We would meet my husband and sons at Gravity Heights for dinner because the food is awesome and they have a great outdoor space for kids to play. We would have to plan a beach day at Powerhouse Park in Del Mar because that’s our local stomping grounds these days. We would plan a day in Little Italy and meet my husband and sons at Crack Shack for lunch and then he could take the kids home while we stroll the Saturday farmer’s market, wine taste at Carruth, check out cute boutiques and have dinner and drinks at one of the new restaurants on India St. If we weren’t too tired after all that, we would end the night with some girlfriends at the good old Waterfront Bar. We would have to fit in some yoga, swimming and some down time at home in between all that too because I really am a homebody.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Grandmother, Willoughby, will be 99 this year. She is the most incredible woman I know and has inspired me my entire life. She is skilled in multiple art forms and continues to paint even with macular degeneration. When you have a love for the arts like she does, nothing can stop you from creating. I am so proud to be from a family of female artists and our matriarch has shared her talent and love of art with each of us. My grandmother, mother, and aunt are all my inspirations and have made art a big part of their life in their own way.