Monday, May 2, 2011


My Udu drum is made from clay...

I've been wanting to make an Udu drum for a long time and finally decided to carve out the time to do so. This drum is primarily thrown on the potter's wheel in two parts. After it was formed I covered it with several layers of 'terra sigillata' which is a highly refined liquid clay. The term 'terra sigillata' means 'sealed earth'. The piece was then burnished to a high polish with a river rock. After firing, I painted it with oxide stains and fired it again to cone 05. The drum has many different pitches and tones depending on where it is tapped.

"The word Udu means both vessel and peace in the Ibo language of Nigeria." Some believe the deep resonance of the drum is the “voice of the ancestors”. It is used throughout the world in spiritual ceremonies and rituals. It can also be heard in contemporary tribal/world music.

To hear what the Udu sounds like click here.

©M. Ogilvie, 2011

©M. Ogilvie, 2011

©M. Ogilvie, 2011

©M. Ogilvie, 2011


  1. First off I want to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question in which I'd like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
    I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10
    to 15 minutes tend to be lost just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or hints? Thanks!

    1. Thank you so much for the kind feedback. I appreciate it very much. The way I clear myself for all forms of expression, whether it's writing, speaking or visual art is to sit quietly, sometimes with eyes closed, and set a personal intention so that I have a direction and a reason to open up to words or materials. In all cases there is an absolute desire to manifest my thoughts externally —and that is what for the most part drives the experience. As I begin, I know and accept that much of what comes out throughout the process might be discarded, altered or rearranged. Acknowledging this allows me space for trial and error, and experimentation. In other words I try not to get too attached to the outcomes. So, to answer the second part of your question, I really don’t think it matters if the ”first 10-15 minutes tend to be lost”… maybe that’s just part of your process. If it bothers you though, maybe you could try doodling as a warm up… just doodle and don’t worry about what you are expressing… I find that doodling is very centering, and calming and in some ways can access the subconscious writing part of our brain. Let me know how it goes. :-)

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