Thursday, July 24, 2008

Playing with Mud

Hikaru dorodango are balls of mud, molded by hand into perfect spheres, dried and polished to a fine luster. I love that the the process is so zen, so simple, so basic, but with magical results. Bruce Gardner, an artist living in New Mexico, makes beautiful dorodango. The dorodango shown above from left: Pebbled Yellow, from a deposit of soil near Golden, New Mexico; La Bajada Red, from soil at La Bajada Hill, south of Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Placitas Grey, created from a deposit of gray soil in Placitas, New Mexico. His site includes background information on the art form and helpful instructions for creating your own. A traditional pastime among the children of Japan, the exact origin of hikaru dorodango is unknown. The tradition was dying out until taken up by Professor Fumio Kayo, of the Kyoto University of Education, as a means to study the psychology of children's play. In the course of his research, Kayo developed a simple technique for creating dorodango. Part of me wants to try this out, but my patience has waned with age, so for now I'll just admire the process and final product.

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