Buell Childrenıs Museum

Winter Activities



Dreams You Can Count On: Visual Arts & Mathematics

Runs Jan. 18 ~ May 28, 2005


Hands-on interactive exhibits combine math and art for fun and learning. Patterns, counting, measurement, geometry, symmetry and more come alive in this ³math-terpiece² of an exhibit!


The Toymaker

Welcome to the Geometry Toy Factory  ­ a world of paper toys by artist Marilyn Scott-Waters ­ where you'll find a dream theater, a balancing penny butterfly and treasure boxes, plus baskets and magical spinners you can make. You'll be amused and delighted as you use your math skills to measure, fold forms, count and create. Visit www.thetoymaker.com for paper toys you can print out and make yourself!



Marilyn Scott-Waters


For the Buell Museum


Where do you get your ideas?


Everywhere! I keep a sketchbook and doodle all the time. If I see an interesting flower or old building Iıll draw it. I also look at a lot of antique art books. I love libraries. There is a special room in the childrenıs section of the Los Angeles main library and the librarians were kind enough to let me do research there. I gathered lots of fun ideas for paper toys.


What is a normal day like for you?


In the morning I make a peanut and jelly sandwich for our medium sized boy who is in second grade. He never wants anything else, just peanut butter and jelly. After I take him to school I go back home to my studio and get to work. I am a clothing designer so I design jackets, pants and tee shirts on my computer. Sometimes I go shopping for ideas. Right now I am working on illustrating a childrenıs book so I am drawing lots of pictures of mice and hippos. In the evening I cook dinner and do mom stuff. When itıs bedtime I read stories. I make paper toys late at night when everyone is asleep. We have ³Monday Model Night² where we sit at the kitchen table and make models. I make paper ones and my husband and our son make cars, helicopters and robots.


Where do you work?


I have a studio in our house and it is very wonderful. I have a computer and worktable, a color printer and lots of books. I have a closet full of art supplies. I also have a big window that looks out over the back garden.


Please tell us about your family or children. Any pets?


My husband Ronn Waters is a technology specialist teacher. He teaches teachers how to use computers in the classroom. He was a helicopter pilot in the Army. He likes to ride motorcycles. Our son Joel is in second grade. He likes Legos, racecars, otters and dinosaurs. We have black cat named Mister Spoo, a grey cat named Neemo, a fish tank and a koi pond.


What do you enjoy creating the most?


It is hard to pick one thing! I love making paper toys. They have to be easy to make to be on my website so I spend a lot of time figuring out how to simplify the designs. I also like drawing comic books and sketching in art museums.


Do you ever put people or places that you know in your artwork?


All the time! The ³Window to Fairyland² has a fairy that looks a lot like my niece, Elise. The otter paper dolls on my website are named after the otters at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. They are so cute. I have a stuffed polar bear named Puck who models for me a lot.


What do you use to make your artwork?


First I make a pencil drawing in black and white. Then I scan the sketch into my computer and add layers of color in a program called Adobe PhotoShop.  When the drawing is finished I add all the instructions in another program called Adobe Illustrator. Then I put the finished toy on my webpage so people all over the world can print them out and put them together.


Tell us about when you sold your first piece.


My first paying art job was in college where I illustrated a filmstrip called Freeway Frog. I sold my first book at the San Diego Comic Book Convention in July 2004.


Who inspired you most to be an artist?


My mom! She always had arts and crafts stuff for us to play with and I had my own pair of grown up scissors when I was seven. I was also influenced very much by a movie I saw in college about Maurice Sendak. He got to sleep late and work at home until late at night and Iıve always thought that was a fine way to live your life.


Write a short quote from you that might inspire our young visitors.


Itıs good to be creative! Make toys! Play more!