City Space

"Keepers" questions the value of things, what we choose to keep, how we treasure objects, and how these shape our ideas about being human.  

This is an ongoing series by artist Vanessa Rolf exploring the imprints left by objects. Responding to personal and inherited collections, she makes detailed stitched artworks that speak of our relationships with objects that go beyond the functional. The work also reflects the visual language of archives themselves; the boxes, record cards and filing systems.   

Newer works are directly inspired by the archaeological finds cared for by Hampshire Cultural Trust. These explorations connect us to the history buried under Winchester and the surrounding landscape.  

Archaeological practices allow us to use found objects to unpick the stories of their owners and their lives, but they also speak of those who found them and what they were seeking. Finds are lifted from where they sit buried, creating an indentation, an absence in the landscape; these works explore those traces and how the objects appear reinterred, now wrapped, boxed and catalogued in the archive. 

Vanessa Rolf is a Winchester-based visual artist with a practice that primarily uses cloth and stitch to unearth the empirical layers of meaning that can be obscured by our current dominant ordering systems. Vanessa studied at the Royal College of Art, where she became an honorary fellow in 2017. Alongside her art practice, for 20 years Vanessa has been working in a range of settings with people of all ages to make as a collective act of enquiry, agency and community building. She currently works with BA and MA level students at Winchester School of Art, Chichester University, Southampton Solent and University of the Creative Arts, Farnham. 


Vanessa Rolf Presence Absence series, stitched felt artworks  Vanessa Rolf Unearthed series, stitched felt artworks 

 Vanessa Rolf Strays and Fragments  Vanessa Rolf Presence Absence series, stitched felt artworks

Above images: Vanessa Rolf, Presence Absence & Unearthed series, stitched felt artworks.

Banner image: Vanessa Rolf, Reinterred.




  • Reinterred, by Vanessa Rolf
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