Mudballs are viewed in many countries as something ordinary and its elegance often overlooked. A lot of people are missing out because dorodango mudballs are not only beautiful but the process of making them is quite fun. The smooth balls are formed by using a mix that is soil-based and then it is rolled by hand. The process alone can help calm the maker and the challenge lies in making a perfect shaped one because they are very fragile and can crack very easily. Achieving the perfect sheen can also be a challenge in making the mudballs.
The dorodango that are created by Kiyoko Miki looks like pretty jewels. They are available in different sizes. There are mudballs that have earth-like texture while there are those that have been painted with intricate designs.
According to Miki, 62 years old, she made some improvements with the traditional method used in making dorodango in order to let people feel more of the soil’s texture.
Miki started serving as the head of the jury that is judging the dorodango tournament held every year in Tokoname located in Aichi Prefecture.
Miki is a resident of Yokohama and learned how the art with the help of a plasterer named Shinkichi Enomoto. He is also making soil paintings with the aid of mud and towels instead of the traditional paint and brushes.
She is currently teaching dorodango classes wherein the students got the opportunity to learn about the technique she uses in plastering which is utilized in earthen walls.
The first thing that needs to be done when molding dorodango is to make sure the base material is ready. This is accomplished by mixing soil which is clay-based with straw as well as silica sand.
Miki said that the mudballs will remain soft unless clay-based soil is used in the process.
Silica is used to make sure the mudballs will be free from cracks while the straw is the binding material between the soil and sand.
Once the rolled mudballs are done, it is left to be dried under the sun for a number of days before it is recoated with the soil mix. This is done until the right form is perfected. A plasterer in Sydney and anyone interested can easily learn the skills in doing dorodango.