Ray Rochau likes to create toys - wooden toys to be exact.

The Grove man uses tools to create wooden toys ranging from puzzle stools to pull toys. He also creates words signs and crosses. 

But mostly, he likes working with his hands and creating noise.

"It drives Arlene [his wife] mad, the high pitched sounds," Rochau said with a laugh. "I joke that I like to go out and make a lot of sawdust."

Rochau began his woodworking hobby approximately 14 years ago, while living in Ohio, after he saw a puzzle stool in a craft sale. 

"I thought, I could make something better than that," Rochau said, adding he's made stools for every grandchild in his family, and for every grandchild of a good friend. 

The hobby continued, and morphed into a small business, after Rochau and his wife, Arlene, retired to Grove in 2005.

The 1960 graduates of Will Rogers High School in Tulsa decided Grove would serve as a good location to be near family in Zena and Bixby.

"It has a quiet, easy going lifestyle," Rochau said.

Rochau now sits at his bench creating everything cars, trains, trucks and helicopters.

"They are easy to make and I like doing them," Rochau said. "Some of the toys I make come from my head."

At times, Rochau said the toy's design is shaped not on past patterns, but how he can best utilize the wood, as it's sanded down and morphs into a project.

"Some days I work three to four hours, other days up to five hours," Rochau said. "It all depends on if I'm rebuilding my inventory or what my mood is."

He uses a mixture of white and yellow pine, as well as poplar.

"I get a lot of my wood from people using lumber for something else," Rochau said. "I get a lot of their cut offs."

He does take on some custom projects, as time and travels allow. His past pieces have included step stools and picnic tables. Several of his toys are on display at a regular basis at the Jump Station, Har-Ber Village Crafters Store, and Just Sugar Free in Grove, and Unique Boutique near Elk River / Cowskin Bridge. Periodically, he can be found on Saturdays, at the Grove Farmers Market.

This will be his first time to take part in the Art on the Lake at Har-Ber Village in Grove. He likes showcasing his work, allowing children - and parents alike - look at the different toys. 

He said children are drawn to the trucks, while adults like the crosses.

"I just enjoy doing it," Rochau said.

Art on the Lake

The event, which began in 2016, draws together an assortment of crafters showcasing their various works during a one-day art demonstration and show. 

Set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 12, the event is free with admission to the living history museum.

Crafters taking part in the event include painters, weavers, carvers, quilters, pen and ink artists, stampers and more.

Amelia Chamberlain, executive director for Har-Ber Village, said the event has multiple layers.

"People can see art, buy art and in some cases, make art," Chamberlain said, adding the artworks created by children who attended last week's Art Camp, will also be on display.

"There are lots of art shows where you can go, and look at art," Chamberlain said. "There aren't many you can experience art.

"Here you'll be able to experience art in a different way. Hopefully people will come out, have fun, play around and speak to the artists. They might pick up a new hobby."

If You Go

Art on the Lake, will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, at Har-Ber Village in Grove.

The event is designed to give artists a chance to showcase their work, and provide them an outlet to connect artists and patrons.

The event is free with admission: $10 for adults, $7.50 for seniors 62 and above, $5 for children 6 to 13, and free for children under 6 and for village members.

For more information, persons interested may call 918-786-6446, email director@har-bervillage.com, or visit har-bervillage.com.

Did You Know?

Artists set to take part in the Art on the Lake include:

• Brush & Palette Club members

• Ken and Myra Noteboom - wooden furniture

• Gloria King and Rhonda Smoke - beadworking, gourd painting

• Susan Newman - watercolors

• Joann Whitney - oil painting

• Billy Heller - iron forging

• Audubon Society members

• Jeannie Wheatley - weaving

• Mary McCreery - basket weaving

• Paula Keefer - gelli printing

• Amelia Chamberlain - clay

• Mary Lee - resin art

• Ken Brown - architectural and landscape drawings

• Willie Morrison - pen and ink drawings

• Katelyn - screen coloring

• Ray Rochau - wooden toys

• Jerry and Nancy Harper - woodworking

Hands on activities include: fashion color sheets, design-a-stamp, weaving, quilting and thaumatrope.