Wooden-toy demo at Pakatakan Market

Halcottsville — The “Catskill Arts & Air” festival series this week presents woodworker John Knapp, who will be demonstrating some of his secrets for successful toy-making on Saturday, July 30 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market on Route 30, Halcottsville. He will also offer a free interactive period when youngsters can engage in making their own toy.

John Knapp, owner of Knapp Knoll Woodworks, will be demonstrating the intricate workings of some of the whimsical toys that he has been designing and building since 2002.

“Toys have always held a special joy with me, and I love being able to share this fascination with anyone who is interested.” John explains.

John started woodworking when he retired from the Merchant Marine in 1999, and now has his toys on display at gift shops throughout Delaware and Chenango counties. While he does all kinds of custom woodworking, John decided to specialize in heirloom quality toys around 2005.

“It was an easy decision,” he states, “I saw an unfilled niche for good quality toys that helped fuel the imagination. I also have over 40 nieces and nephews who love getting presents. But, most importantly, it's something that I love doing.”

Many of John’s toys have some kind of movement, which leave you thinking “How does that work?” See how some of the favorites are put together, as he explains some of the subtle intricacies that make these toys come alive.

John lives in the middle of a 268 woodlot in Oxford. He manages this woodlot with sustainability and diversity as key components.

“I consider myself a steward of the land more than a property owner. We have all got to do our part to take care of our corner of this planet.”

John does it all, from the harvesting of the trees, milling of the logs, and final transformation of lumber into toys. “The tree has already done most of the work, and I hope my toys help keep that appreciation for trees intact into the next generation.”

Up next at the market on Saturday, Aug. 6 is printmaking artist Gerda van Leeuwen, who will demonstrate her own invented techniques in combination with the traditional mono printmaking and offer some hands on printing processes for children to try out on their own.

The Pakatakan Farmers’ Market is held rain or shine. The market is located at the historic Round Barn on Route 30 near the Delaware County hamlet of Halcottsville. For more information, please visit pfmarket.org or call 845 586-3443.