San Francisco in toothpicks stretches imagination

Scott Weaver's toothpick model of San Francisco on display at the city's Exploratorium museum.

SAN FRANCISCO - Those who see it are amazed at what Scott Weaver has built with just glue and toothpicks. CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports his work is a vision of San Francisco, from its cable cars to its rows of Victorian houses.

Standing next to the miniature creation, 9-year-old Erin McGlynn says, "This is art. This is not just toothpicks, this is art."

Weaver says he's used more than 100,000 toothpicks to recreate virtually every landmark in the city. He's aware that some people may call him crazy.

"What kind of eccentric idiot would spend thousands of hours making a toothpick sculpture? That's me!," he explains.

He has been working on his toothpick sculpture for 36 years.

Weaver recalls, "My mom always said, 'Scotty, get that thing done, get it out of your wife's living room.'"

It's now display at San Francisco science museum The Exploratorium, where he's giving guided tours with a ping pong ball.

Museum patron Lisa Holden thinks, "It's a piece of art, no question. It's absolutely art and it's absolutely beautiful."

"That's the way art should be," Weaver says. "You know, 'There's no rules'."

And with no rules, he has turned the humble toothpick into a building block of wonder.

  • John Blackstone
    John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.