Toso dolls are made with toso, a clay-like substance made of paulownia sawdust mixed with paste, around a core of paulownia wood. While the substance is soft, it can be fashioned freely, so all kinds of forms can be made. It is important to dry it thoroughly so that the form does not get distorted later.
Did you know?
If you look closely through a magnifying glass, you can see that the edges of a doll's clothing are tightly wedged into narrow grooves. This technique is known as kimekomi, and it is done by cutting grooves into the body surface following the contours of the edge of the cloth. Glue is then placed in the grooves, and the edges of the cloth pushed in with a spatula, holding the clothing in place. The fine details of the clothing are done with the kimekomi technique as well.
How to make toso dolls
"What Are Traditional Crafts? -A Guidebook to Seeing, Learning, and Enjoying-" Edited by the Japan Kogei Association Eastern Branch. Published by Unsodo ／ List of works English translation: Kazuko Todate (Art critic / Art historian)