Well..this past year, I made an African percussion instrument, called an
First, I was working on my second blues/folk cd, and invited a friend of
mine to travel over and spend several days putting some percussive things
down on various tracks. With his conga, toomba, djembe...he brought a clay
vessel called the Udu. A simple pot with an opening hole on the side used
as a valve.
I looked them up on the internet, and found you can buy them from about $450
to $750 and I was like..."wwwWWHHAT???? I can MAKE that!" so,
indeed...that is what I did.
I used a big hard fiberglass bowl, and used it as a press mold for the
bottom half, then finished the top of with coils and smoothed them out. I
sculpted a lizard for the side, and happy to report it plays quite well.
I'm surprised the varied character of sound I get from it, and now that I
have this one done...I will be introducing it and other possible ceramic
instruments. I hope to add an tube making device to my extruder in the
future to possibly even make ceramic flutes...but I think we are developing
a theme for our ceramic department that will excite the kids. There are a
good number of clay instrument sites online with Udu...doumbek, etc; which
gives a good platform too for multiculture ideas.
Finally...you get the pleasure to really see step by step how my own UDU
came into being. At wetcanvas.com this past spring, I looked for help or
the experience of others on the Udu in the sculpture forum. The thread
really turns out now to be a four page online artist's community effort, as
I show steps, intermittent results, and the final product. IT has become
then in essence, a lesson...
Note that this link is not likely to work due to its length, so you will
have to copy and paste the remainder of the link that does not highlight to
the end of the url in the subject line to bring the archived site up.
Enjoy! -Larry Seiler