When Scott Weaver first started gluing toothpicks together to create sculptures at the age of 8, little did he know he would later embark on a monumental 34-year journey toward completion of his epic Rolling Through the Bay sculpture.
The fourth-generation San Franciscan started Rolling Through the Bay in 1974 as a smaller piece that featured his signature ping-pong ball path running through it. He continued to work on the piece off and on until 2008, when he debuted it at the Sonoma County Fair, winning Best of Show. Utilizing a staggering 100,000 toothpicks, it stands 9 feet tall, 7 feet wide, and 30 inches deep, and features four different ping-pong ball routes that start at entry points atop the piece and travel past San Francisco landmarks. Weaver uses only Elmer’s white glue.
The ping-pong ball routes are essential for a full appreciation of the details, which are so numerous and uniform in color that they risk being overlooked. The main tour starts at Coit Tower, wraps under a Rice-A-Roni cable car, through the Transamerica Pyramid, out to the Cliff House, down Lombard Street to Chinatown, back toward the Palace of Fine Arts, out around the windmill at Ocean Beach, across the Golden Gate Bridge, over Humphrey the humpback whale, behind Alcatraz, by the Maritime Museum, ending in the long-lost Fleishhacker Pool.
At Maker Faire Bay Area 2011, Weaver earned Editor’s Choice blue ribbons and had perhaps one of the most photographed projects at the Faire. He is fueled by seeing people’s reactions to his work, recognizing the madness in his method. “What kind of eccentric idiot would spend thousands of hours making a toothpick sculpture? That’s me!”