Ojai Marvels

Feb 6, 2017

IMG_4102The lull after Christmas and before the new year was a perfect time to take a jaunt to Ojai. Though we were experiencing almost continuous rain, we managed to snag a few hours between downpours.

We arrived in Ojai with an appetite and chose a very cute spot called Knead Baking Company. We partook of a sandwich no bigger than a dinner roll, quite tasty but paltry‚and paid a stupefying $13 (free cup of water included).

Not quite delighted with that experience—though we were mollified by chatting with Ojai resident Peter Strauss (Rich Man, Poor Man, anyone?)—we strolled down East Ojai Avenue entering any shop that took our fancy. We exited shops feeling whimsical, inspired, impressed, and literally in awe, nearly speechless. Here’s what we found…

Fig Curated Living, 327 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai 93023. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tel: 805.646.6561.

Fig sells candles and holders, tea towels and juice glasses, mugs and spoons, stuffed animals and ornaments, wind chimes and planters, and inspiration for your patio and garden (of any size)…














We fell hard for Sandy Wolk‘s “Stargazers” ($675/pair)…






A roar of color at Danski, 321 E. Ojai Avenue. Hours: Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tel: 805.646.1927. Find Danski on Facebook.






Nomad Gallery, 307 E. Ojai Avenue. Hours n/a. Tel: 805.646.1706.

Whether it’s one’s style or not, the workmanship on these Tuareg necklaces in the window of Nomad’s we found alluring…






Leslie Clark, designer of NomadGal Jewelry and founder of the Nomad Foundation, is an artist whose career has always included travel. After obtaining her master of fine arts degree from George Washington University she traveled to France for her first exhibition. Since then she has traveled and painted searching for new perspective and old wisdom.






Ova Arts, 238 E. Ojai Ave., Ojai 93023. Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tel: 805.646.5682.

Some of us wanted to take her home…




We were mesmerized, entranced, and silenced by the brilliant workmanship of David Blackburn. He builds meticulous, large jewelry boxes, benches, pedestals, boxes, trays, and vases, usually with a myriad of woods along with real acorns, shell, stone, and even fossils. We researched and found he uses lumbered as well as found wood—bird’s-eye maple, claro walnut, walnut burl, buckeye burn, Oregon grape, and oak. He mixes polished edges with rough; “irregularities often become focal points”; his inlay work is exquisite. And most of his pieces have fun hidden compartments.




Detail from piece above

Detail from piece above


Backside of a rather mammoth jewelry box…








To see an extensive (better photographed) gallery of Blackburn’s work, click

Below, by Bruce Tomlinson. We wouldn’t have minded taking this guy home either…




More whimsy…






Human Arts, 246 E. Ojai Avenue. Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Tel: 805.646.1525.

There was almost too many good things to admire at Human Arts Gallery…

Whimsical yet intricately painted tables, bookshelves, cabinets, frames, mirrors, and lamps by David Marsh




Trunk (more art) by Karl Vistrand…




Fabulous, two-dimensional, Dr. Seuss-looking vases…




Scrumptious cutting boards by John Bakula’s Wooden Images. Woods used include purple heart, cherry, Brazilian jatoba, and African padauk…




We want one of these very, very much…




Shovels by Kelly Phipps. Old shovels cut with a “plasma” torch.




Though maybe this Kelly Phipps metalwork is more in style?




Clogs. Coleman’s Mustard. Repurposing everything. Lamp by David Marsh…




Work by Ted Gall. A tad freaky and disturbing, yet marvelous. We couldn’t pull away our attention…




And these light fixtures—oval and round lamps, background right, and in the foreground the lamp that looks like a WWII underwater mine—are created by an artist we’ve seen in Altadena—can anyone name him?




By this time, energies were running low and thunder could be heard grumbling from beyond the arcade, so we headed back to the car, large droplets forcing a brisk walk into a fast jog the last two blocks.

But not before we had to stop and glance into Jes MaHarry, putting it on the list for our next Ojai creative well-filling…







Source material:
Ventura County Star, February 23, 2010, “Artistic Touch” by Nicole D’amore.
David Blackburn, Fine Woodwork,


Left to right: Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely, and Peter Strauss; stars of the TV mini series Rich Man, Poor Man

Left to right: Nick Nolte, Susan Blakely, and Peter Strauss; stars of the TV mini series Rich Man, Poor Man, 1976




3 Responses for “Ojai Marvels”

  1. Jeannette Bovard says:

    Fig and Human Arts are two of my favorite shops – anywhere! Can’t wait to get back to Ojai for another browsing/shopping session.

  2. Joanna says:

    When you’re off the beaten track, visit the very cool book store “Bookends” in the Arbolada – inhabiting a former church and under beautiful massive oaks. It’s steps from The Farmer and The Cook and other lovely things.

  3. Kat Ward says:

    Thank you, Joanna, for the recommendation to visit Bookends. We’d hoped to do a whole bookstore run, but the day was getting late and the rainstorm came upon us. We’ll definitely include it on the next trip!



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