I crafted a hiraku dorodango over the course of about three weeks using the directions from Craft Magazine (RIP) and dorodango.com.
I started with sifted dirt from my own yard. I felt that this project would be more meaningful with soil with which I had a connection rather than going and buying a bag of dirt.
It was easier than I thought to get the initial sphere formed and to work much of the water towards the surface through repetitive tumbling in my hands.
I did not use a refrigerator for the "sweats" between adding more layers of fine dirt and tumbling. At first I tried to hurry the process but realized that was futile.
The transformation of the dorodango from a ball of dull dirt was amazing. The act of adding fine dirt to further draw out the moisture temporarily transformed the appearance until continued tumbling restored its rich, leathery luster.
My hiraku dorodango's final appearance was different than I expected: less uniform (I can see three different types of soil that make up the dirt in that part of my yard), splintered with cracks from drying out (there must be a good amount of clay) but stable. It is truly an otherworldly artifact from this world.
I would describe the process of crafting a hiraku dorodango as mindless mindfulness. I cannot wait to make another with soil from another meaningful location.