Imagine being able to spend 10 hours working on something and having zero distractions--no phone calls, no e-mail, and no music.
That's the kind of concentration Steven J. Backman exhibits when he creates art out of the humblest of materials--the toothpick.
The San Francisco native has been building replicas, sculptures, and portraits out of toothpicks for decades.
At Maker Faire 2011 last month in San Mateo, Calif., he showed off some dazzling creations including a 28-inch-tall replica of the Empire State Building, fashioned from 7,470 toothpicks.
"Using my fingers to glue each toothpick individually is inspirational to me," Backman says. "It gives me a chance to convey my passion in a tangible way and stirs up my imagination process to its utmost test."
For his creations, Backman uses Elmer's Glue and his stock of old white birch toothpicks, which are no longer being manufactured. There's no supporting wire, wood, or cardboard.
That's one reason some of his pieces take so long to complete. He describes his art as "the essence of patience." … Read more