The process is meditative and deeply satisfying, and is seen by many as the primary motivation for the art. Layer upon layer of fine dirt is applied to the mud core, forming a hard outer shell. This is then polished with a cloth to give the dorodango an appearance similar to that of a snooker ball, perfectly round and shiny to an unbelievable degree. How can simple dirt become so lustrous?
You may remember a previous post about a craze in Japan where people were creating perfect spheres from aluminium foil. This was obviously inspired by the ancient technique of making dorodango. While in America kids are eating Tide Pods and poisoning themselves, Japanese kids learn the value of patience and perfection from constant refinement, by creating these beautifully simple pieces of art.
Making dorodango was mostly a forgotten pastime until recently, when professor Fumio Kayo, a psychologist who specializes in children’s play, made it popular again in Japan and worldwide. Bruce Gardner has become a master of the art, and experiments with the many different soils he finds around Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can see how he does it in the video below, and it will make you want to try it yourself!
Scroll down to learn more about hikaru dorodango, and let us know what you think in the comments. Where you inspired to give it a try? How did it go? Tell us and share your pics!
It all starts with collecting the soil
Then the rocks are separated from the soil
And the shaping begins
More layers are added over time
This process takes at least 30 minutes
And it’s where people relax more and more, as they shape the ball to perfection
This step is very tricky, because the ball can easily crack and break
Then it’s left to dry in a plastic bag for at least 20 minutes
After repeating the process a few times, the polishing begins
Lots and lots of polishing…
And it turns into something like this!
The color varies because of the different soil types
People have fallen in love with this oddly satisfying DIY project
And are sharing their own creations on various social media platforms
It’s a perfect activity for meditation groups, classes or camps
Watch the video for an in-depth look how artist Bruce Gardner makes his perfect “shiny dumplings”