Handbuilding Video – Sound Advice: An Expert Udu Drum Maker Shares Tips for Making Coil Built Forms That Can Take A Beating

Making an udu drum (narrow-necked, vaselike clay instruments - see image below) involves coil-building and hump-mold techniques and, as you can imagine, the forms need to be strong since they, literally, must be able to take a beating. Frank Giorgini first learned to make udu drums  in 1974 at a workshop taught by Nigerian udu drum maker Abbas M. Ahuwan and he has been perfecting his technique ever since.

Obviously, I can’t show the entire process here, but today I decided to excerpt a couple of Frank’s techniques because they are applicable to any kind of coil-built form. Whether you plan to make a drum or not, these tips will help you make forms that are both beautiful and structurally sound.  - Jennifer Harnetty, editor.


  • One of Frank’s Udu drums as well as his tiles are on display at the “Journey’s in Clay ” Exhibit, GCCA Mountaintop Gallery, Main Street, Windham, NY until August 30. 518-734-3104. Curated by Ruth Sachs.

  • The video was very interesting, not just to make udu drums, but to make another pieces of that size. I would like to see more.

  • This was an excellent lesson on handbuilding.

  • Fascinating and otherwise excellent video! Can’t afford any more goodies at this time but if’n I could, this would be on the top of the list! Thanks so much.

  • Great, what’s it sound like?
    show us some finished pots.

  • Frank does an excellent job speaking as he works. Not easy to do! Very well done video.

  • I am glad that I watched because it taught me a lot about how to shape clay. I have begun my first clay program at the elementary school level. I am 65 and not a young art teacher, the last time I did any clay work was 30 years ago at college and that was in a sculpture class. Not really the same as making small bowls and pinch pots K-5.
    Thanks for the video!

  • bello il video , interessante la tecnica che io utilizzo i modo molto meno preciso e qui di ora cercherò di fare meglio, e bellissimo il suono che producono questi tamburi udu. per me è molto più difficile perchè non conosco la lingiua e devo basarmi solo sulle immagini e quel che riesco a trovere nelle note scritte.
    per fortuna esiste google traslate
    nice video, an interesting technique that I use the much less precise hours and here I will try to do better, and the beautiful sound they make these drums udu. is much more difficult for me because I do not know the lingiua basarmi and only on the pictures and what I can find in the notes written.
    Fortunately, there is google translated

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