Organic Play-Doh

Andrew creates his chicken

(Reis) Today we went to a village called Xuan La. In Xuan La there is a couple who specialize in making Tohe, a toy puppet-like sculpture made out of colored rice powder dough. On the way to this couple’s house, we walked through the village market. It was filled with fruits like dragon fruit, mango and many vegetables. Also, they had fish which were all chopped up, showing their gory innards. While walking, Mom was taking pictures of kids. Or at least trying to! Every time she brought the viewfinder up to her eye, all the kids would run away screaming and giggling at their game. But at least she got a few. When we reached the couple’s house, we were invited for a cup of tea. Being polite, we all accepted and sat down to drink some Vietnamese tea. While we were drinking the gloriously strong stuff, the wife behind us kept on inviting us to come and make some Tohe with her. At first we said “No thank you”, but slowly we gave in, until we were all over there. She instructed us, step by step, to make different things. Through gestures and translations from our guide, we made our first rose. It was pretty hard, considering the excruciating detail, extreme precision, and demanding expertise. Then we learned how to make a chicken. Here are the steps to make it with play doh:

  1. Acquire tennis ball-sized blobs of many different color Play-Doh (Tohe Dough works best)
  2. Grab a stick and put a chicken shaped blob of white dough on top of it
  3. Meld yellow into the face
  4. Put three small pink petal shaped pieces of dough onto the top of the head
  5. Fashion a small ball of red dough and add it under the ìchinî to make the gobble
  6. Generate two small loops of white dough and add one to each side of the face, where the eye would be
  7. Add a small black pupil of dough inside each of the small white loops
  8. Take four small pipe shaped pieces of dough (of any colors) and stack them 2×2
  9. Roll them together, only going from the top of your hand to the palm, in an up to down motion
  10. Make two more of them and add them to the rump, (Note, it should look swirled) for feathers
  11. Create two moderately big petal shaped pieces (any color, red is good) and add them as wings
  12. Form two reasonably big yellow pipe shaped pieces of dough and branch three pieces off of the end
  13. Attach those two yellow pieces of dough to the middle of the stomach on both sides, to model legs
  14. Let it dry for a few days in sunlight, air conditioning, or even an oven (without the stick)
  15. Play around with your new Tohe by making puppet shows, plays and more!

I got really stuck on the whole tail concept, so I had a big pile of “mess-ups.” Then a clever plan formed in my mind. I used all of my rejects to make my chicken into a many tailed and many colored chicken-peacock. My dad also had a thought. “Whoever has the best chicken, judged by the master/teacher, wins a prize.” We all took the contest not very seriously because mostly all of my dad’s contest prizes are hugs, kisses and trips around the world. I mean seriously, LAME! When the contest timer went out, we all were lined up outside in the courtyard. My dad went around and interviewed us, asking why we should win the contest, in two sentences(see video below). When the interrogation was done the master made the decision. “The next Vietnamese Chicken Idol will be announced after the break” No, just kidding, he made the choice of putting Alex’s Chicken first. I knew I wasn’t going to win, but I still protested like the stubborn kid I am. After the judging, we said a lot of “C·m on’s” and “Thank You’s,” and left the scene. We departed the village with good instructions, good knowledge, good experiences, and GREAT memories.

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3 Responses to “Organic Play-Doh”

  1. Hey guys!
    Those birds were awesome! I thought they all were the best. I’ll talk to you later, because today we are going to skype with you! Talk to you soon!

  2. Hi Reis,
    It must of been sooooo cool to use Organic Play-Doh! I’m with you, the tails are totaly the hardest part. I like how your chicken is “very demented and pecocky!” Did you do a Polar Plunge or was it based on age? Were the animals in Antartica cool? OMG! how was scuba diving?


  3. Hi Whites,

    All of those birds you made were very creative. I also liked your post, Reis. It’s great your having a great time. I will see you all soon!

    Carly 🙂