A City of Toothpicks

It took 100,000 of them to do the job, and the result is a matchless architectural masterpiece: a toothpick model of the city he loves, San Francisco.


At 9 feet tall and 7 feet wide, Weaver’s toothpick sculpture isn’t the biggest in the world, but it is the only one that allows a ping pong ball to roll through it, taking various courses through the city. “Rolling Through the Bay” is the title given by the artist to this utterly unique work of art. In his own words Weaver tells the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s San Francisco as I see it.”


He was just a teenager when construction began. Armed only with glue and many boxes of toothpicks (just 99 cents for a box of 750), Weaver slowly but surely built a city from the ground up. His has survived the test of time, withstanding an earthquake, four different moves to new houses, as well as the presence of four Great Danes. With a simple wag of the tail, one of the pooches did the most damage, and 100 hours of work went down the drain in an instant. But repairs are part of everyday life in any metropolis, and while Weaver’s creation is technically finished, he still adds new touches here and there, and if a toothpick becomes unglued, he simply glues it back on.


A testament to perseverance and long-term vision, “Rolling Through the Bay” is yet another confirmation that, little by little and day by day, big things can happen.