Toothpick Artist Wows The Fair Crowds

SPOKANE — Most booths at the Spokane County Interstate Fair get their share of lookers, people passing by to admire arts and crafts creations. But this year there is one booth where one local artist that leaves people shaking their heads in disbelief.

It’s impressive art, detailed and beautiful, colorful and intricate, and that’s before you realize it’s made completely out of toothpicks

“Some of this stuff takes a while,” says Charles Mann.

Mann makes everything from swords to war ships, to pictures, wagons, and even a pistol.

“The sails are toothpicks. The oars are toothpicks,” he says. “The gun is all toothpicks. nothing but toothpicks.”

He picked up toothpick art about 10 years ago.

“My son found two boxes of diamond toothpicks,” Mann says. “My son asked, mom, can you make me a boat. No, your dad can build you a boat.”

He started building small things at first, then larger things with amazing, intricate detail.

“I don’t use matchsticks,” says Mann. “I don’t believe in matchsticks, those guys have got it easy.”

So Mann buys toothpicks. Regular stores charge $3 for 250, but he’s found a deal.

“I’ve found out you can get 1500 toothpicks for a dollar at the dollar store,” he says. “You gotta try to find the best place to get the toothpicks. You get a bargain.”

So how much time does his work take? Mann spent over 300 hours on one ship, 600 hours on another and 300 on some swords.

So how does he do it? He starts by buying a few toothpicks. He cuts the ends off, glues them into a board and then from there he forms them into the shapes he needs.

“It all started with one toothpick,” Mann says.

This innovative toothpick artist doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.