The Japanese Art of Dorodango and Polishing Poop

I saw Maddy’s post about polishing balls of aluminum foil and it reminded me of this episode of Mythbusters where they tested out if it was possible to polish poop. Before we talk about poop, let’s get into some background. Dorodango is a Japanese art where dirt and water are mixed, formed, and polished to create a shiny sphere. Sometimes different colors of earth are added to create a stunning effect. The finished result is beautiful and is a reflection of pure craftsmanship.

In 2008, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters set out to test the myth that “you can’t polish a turd.” During testing, Adam learned about Dorodango from an expert before creating his own shiny dirt ball. Jamie and Adam then went to the zoo to collect poop. To get a large sample size, the Mythbusters collected several different types of animal dung including ostrich and lion excrement. They then set to work forming and polishing for several days. Is it possible to polish a turd? Watch below to find out!

It is! Adam’s ostrich dung Dorodango sphere tested a gloss reading of 106 which is 36 units above the minimum of 70 for “high gloss.” Jamie’s lion poop pool ball tested even higher, at 183 gloss units! I think it’s awesome to learn about a breathtaking piece of art made from the most unlikely of materials. This shows that as designers, we can pick up new materials and processes from almost anywhere. What other common materials can be used in unlikely ways to create art?

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