Japanese Are Polishing Dirt Balls To Perfection, And The Result Is Incredible

Published 6 years ago

Dorodango is a traditional pastime for Japanese schoolchildren, and now it has evolved into an art form. Dorodango is a shiny ball made of mud and dirt and the name ‘hikaru dodorango’ literally translates to ‘shiny dumpling’. These polished spheres are amusing people online as they look like one of the most satisfying things ever.

Bruce Gardner has become a master of the art, and experiments with the many different soils he finds around Albuquerque, New Mexico.  He has been a devoted enthusiast ever since.  “I am always working on two or three pieces in various stages,” Bruce told Bored Panda. “They can take weeks to finish. It is more than a hobby for me – it’s a weird amalgam of art, compulsion, and meditation.”

“Different soils have varying amounts of silt, clay, sand, etc. Every soil sample has unique properties and requires adjustments to my process. I work within a certain sample of soil until I have one or two pieces that I’m happy with.  Sometimes that happens right away; other times it takes several attempts.”

This is not the first time Japanese people manage to create incredible balls by using something weird, you can check our previous post about polished foil balls here.

Scroll down to learn more about dorodango!


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At first, you’ll need to collect some soil

Image credits: Jaboticaba

Then you’ll have to separate rocks from the soil

Image credits: P2 Photography

Now, it’s time to shape the ball

Image credits: P2 Photography

More layers need to be added over time

Image credits: National Geographic

This process takes at least 30 minutes

Image credits: aiiku-gakuen.ac.jp

And that’s where it gets relaxing, as you shape the ball to perfection

Image credits: P2 Photography

This step is very tricky because the ball can easily crack and break

Image credits: National Geographic

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…

Image credits: Timm Wille

And it turns into something like this!

Image credits: P2 Photography

The color varies because of the different soil types

Image credits: lukkar

People have fallen in love with this relaxing DIY project

Image credits: Anna Wolfson Studios

Image credits: macs-inc.co.jp

Image credits: Beth Iwamoto

Image credits: P2 Photography

And are sharing their own creations on various social media platforms

Image credits: Blue Biber

Image credits: doroist

Image credits: ボンボンTV

Image credits: Jaboticaba

Image credits: kayla.kessel

It’s a perfect activity for meditation groups, classes or camps

Image credits: thelaststraw

Image credits: Amelia Milazo

Watch the video for an in-depth look how artist Bruce Gardner makes his perfect “shiny dumplings”

Rugile Matuseviciute

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art, bruce gardner, dirt, dirt ball, dorodango, hikaru dorodango, Japan, Japanese, mud, mud balls, shiny balls, shiny mud balls, soil
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