Docked in Portsmouth (and married to Deane, a Portsmouth man) since 1970, after a wandering army childhood, Celia identifies closely with her adopted home town. As a founder member of the Portsmouth Society, Portsmouth WEA Local History Group and Naval Dockyards Society she has become an expert on historic dockyards in many countries. Each dockyard town has a particular physical shape and social atmosphere ... explored in her new book: Sustainable Regeneration of Former Military Sites (Routledge), which celebrates Gunwharf's Aspex Gallery in her chapter: 'Make Art Not War'.
As a dry dock, echoing Portsmouth's No. 1 Dock, where ships are built and repaired, 'Dock' is ship-shaped, but it's a stone building – steps, blocks and slides to get materials down into the dock, constructed on top of wooden piled foundations driven into the surrounding earth. It has an underground pumping and drainage system which is closed and opened to the sea by the caisson – or 'cassoon' – as we call it in Portsmouth. Invented here, it's a metal container pumped full of water to seal the dock, and emptied and floated away as the dock is refilled when the ship is ready to leave. This example is based on the Russian caisson in Helsinki which encloses a collection of historic ships throughout the Nordic winter. It is flooded and the ships are symbolically floated out to sea at the start of spring.
Celia's City in a Bowl based on a Chinese sculpture contains city buildings she's associated with, including the Palace Cinema, St. Jude's Church, the Tricorn and the Central Library. It was exhibited in the Allen Gallery in Alton in 2019.
Being a member of Portsmouth Makers is an essential part of my life, where we create what's in our hearts and minds with our hands and our imaginations.