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The Japanese Art of Making Mud Balls

Bruce Gardner


Explore the craft and technique of dorodango in master crafter Bruce Gardner’s new book, Dorodango: The Japanese Art of Making Mud Balls.

The Japanese hikaru dorodango, or shiny mud ball, is created by rolling earth by hand into a perfect sphere and polishing it until it gleams. Not only are the results truly impressive, but this calm and meditative practice, a traditional Japanese playground activity for children, has been rediscovered as a peaceful pastime for people of all ages.

Known for inducing flow, the ultimate state of happiness, this simple art is perfect for those who enjoy practicing mindfulness, spending time in nature, and working with their hands. It’s also a lovely way to preserve soil that is special to you, whether it reminds you of home or a place you’ve traveled. As your collection of dorodango grows, you’ll find that earth from different locations each have their own unique properties and finishes.

With beautiful photography and straight forward instructions, this handy guide will teach you everything you need to know to make your own mud balls at home with easily sourced materials.

As featured on BoingBoing, National Geographic, and more!

“The coolest thing you didn’t know you needed to see.”—Buzzfeed

“Artist Bruce Gardner is a master of [this] curious Japanese artform.”—This is Colossal

In addition to dirt and a copy of the book, you will need the following materials to make your own dorodango:

  • Shovel
  • Bucket
  • Sandbags for storing soil
  • Screens (a regular window screen will work)
  • Paint Straining Nets
  • Mixing Tub
  • Flat knife
  • Containers (shoe boxes, etc.)
  • Plastic bags
  • Clips or clothespins
  • Dust Masks
  • Mason Jar lid
  • A smooth piece of wood
  • Scale
  • Mortar and Pestle

A wonderful gift book for fans of pottery and ceramic arts.

Dorodango: The Japanese Art of Making Mud Balls ships internationally with free shipping within the UK.

Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Bruce Gardner has not only mastered the art of making dorodango, but also added his own changes to the technique. He runs workshops on the process and has featured his work in a film with National Geographic. 

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