Local People, Local Wisdom: David Seeger, Castlehaven

In this photo series West Cork photographer Aoise Tutty Jackson uses her informal and fresh style to connect with, and share the wisdom of, people in our community.

Well-known artist David Seeger, who lives in Castlehaven, recently celebrated his 86th birthday. Born in Bradford in West Yorkshire, David was inspired to become an artist at a very early age, growing into a highly prolific and well-loved creative. He has worked with many forms but is particularly well known for his ceramics, and also notable for sculpture, paintings and printmaking in various media. David studied counselling psychology in 1987, which has heavily influenced his work and life. He moved to Ireland in 1990 and has lived in West Cork for the majority of that time. 

“I’m very down to earth and ordinary, I make pots on the wheel. The stuff I put together in a recipe for a glaze is stuff that comes out of a hole in the ground. Literally this stuff becomes jewellery and diamonds – but it’s so simple. You don’t have to be clever, you just do it for a long time and it works. 

There’s usually a massive rivalry between other artists, but I’m simply at the other end of that. David Hockney went to the same school as me and I’m grateful for what he can do better than I can, which gives me space to do what I can do, that is unique to me.

I’ve been through all sorts of tests and conflicts where I’ve grasped the nettle rather than escaped. My life has been gifted by being in touch with the very best teachers in the world. My Aikido teacher, my counselling teachers and my art teachers. I’m no good at music despite having a great teacher there as well! I have a skipping heartbeat so I’m out of time! 

The nature of being awake and alive is that things are uncertain and that’s uncomfortable. Once you grasp that you can work creatively, that’s the impulse to be creative, let’s find a way of doing that. This discomfort of being alive is the key. 

I became a trained counsellor, not to be become a counsellor, but because of how it informed my creative process; and also to help me sort this sh*t out, which has been profound. Every piece of artwork I make is an answer to a question. You could say everything I say has a question mark. 

Ho’oponopono has been very helpful during difficult times in my life. It’s an ancient practice of forgiveness from Hawaii. There’s a word that Carl Jung used which is ‘individuation’ – Ho’oponopono is the same, you accept 100 per cent responsibility for everything at your end of a conflict. You forgive them and you forgive yourself. First step ‘I’m sorry’, second step ‘Please forgive me’, third step ‘Thank you’ and fourth step ‘I love you’. You say it to them, but under your breath , and simultaneously address the phrases to them and yourself (being aware of your own unconscious imperfection as part of the interaction). We all want to feel safe, loving each other’s differences is all that needs to happen. 

You can change yourself, you shouldn’t even attempt to change anybody else, just accept the fact that you can change your attitude to something you don’t like. Physically move away from it if it’s that bad, but deal with it, don’t bury it. 

That’s the one thing in life, everything changes all the time. There is not one thing that does not change, including you.”

WCP Staff

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