Hiro's Plunge

   by Andrea Brittain for Build A Dream (2014)

I used a salad bowl as a mold for the plaster wrap to create the soup bowl. After it dried, I removed it, sanded down the edges and sides and painted it with spray paint. I used acrylics to paint the cherry blossoms. I poked several holes along the bottom edge and used the aluminum wire to attach the bowl and mesh to the piece of tempered hardboard. I melted some of the clay and let it cool just enough that it was easy to flatten out and spread over the wire mesh, which I then painted and used as the miso broth. I cut various size pillars from the Styrofoam rod and glued them to the hardboard, then laid the mesh and clay overtop the pillars, using more clay to help adhere the soup to the edges of the bowl. I cut the small square dowels for chopsticks and sanded down the bottoms to shape them. I used the larger square dowels to cut cubes of tofu. I cut the box from the mannequin into two pieces for the eel’s head, stuffing a couple of packing peanuts between the pieces to give it body, and then painted it. I hand stitched Hiro’s turtleneck using the nylon thread and canvas cloth, and inserted a piece of aluminum wire through the sleeves to have him hanging on to the life ring. His head is made of clay with a wire in it to run down through his shirt into the soup. His hands are cut from cardstock and slipped into the sleeves. I used the packing peanuts to create the life ring and ocean. I painted the shark fin onto a piece of card stock, which I cut out and then inserted into slices in the ocean peanuts.

East is East by T.C. Boyle. Hiro Tanaka jumped ship off the coast of Georgia and after clinging to a life ring for hours, overcome by exhaustion he began thinking of his grandmother’s miso soup.