Judith Zaepfel

Photo credit: Caroline Kraus
Photo credit: Caroline Kraus

Security Blanket

security envelopes with Pellon Fusible Stabilizer on backside

76” x 58”


Photo credit: Caroline Kraus
Photo credit: Caroline Kraus

Beachcomber Collection

merino wool, remnants of cotton and silk, buttons

3” x 6” (variable)




Judith Zaepfel is a fiber artist and painter. She has a BA in Clothing and Textiles and has studied Design and Patternmaking at Nottingham Trent Polytechnic in England. More recently, she attended an eight-week intensive in Feltmaking at the Penland School for Crafts in North Carolina. She is a studio artist and enjoys the visual and tactile beauty of handmade felt. For her, the handcrafted objects connect us to the space we inhabit. Her process begins with watercolors to create a palette and color scheme prior to blending the fleece. Her designs are simple and often stem from nature- rocks, feathers and flowers. To learn more, visit her website: BuffaloGalFelt.com



Statement for Security Blanket

The sole source of materials for the quilt top was security envelopes. The lining of these protective envelopes was designed to conceal sensitive information and to protect individual privacy. I was inspired by the bountiful source of small and varied patterns, reminiscent of traditional quilting fabrics. The patterns bear resemblance to household ticking, confetti, wood grain, plaids, stars and other geometric shapes including grids, dots, stripes, checks, and dashes.
This collaged quilt depicts the log cabin design, reflecting the spirit, the values, and the pioneer days of America. The security sought through hard work. And nostalgia for simplified living. Joys of the country life are antidotes to the over sophistication and the overabundance of entertainment. The quilt draws a corollary about the human need to find comfort, stability and security, especially in an age of rapid changes with cyber technology and digitalization.

The colors in this piece reveal a utilitarian nature. The over-riding blues and grays connote the colors typical of a work shirt and the notion of hard working ethics. It’s the essence of satisfaction that can be found in self-efficacy. The predominant value range of the blues and grays also provided a sense of balance for the other colors. By utilizing the log cabin pattern and focusing on only one block at a time, it was easier to stay present and work intuitively. It was satisfying to work in this way with the limited materials available, even though I wasn’t sure how these blocks would come together.
Thanks to the support of family, friends and CAW members, I had an ample supply of envelopes to complete this piece without having to resort to other paper sources. And a special thanks to the Salvation Army as their red logo represents the hearth at the center of the log cabin.



Statement for Beachcomber Collection

My interest in vessels as a felted form began after an observation while visiting a sheep farm in North Carolina. I noticed that a bird’s nest had woolen fleece woven into it. The fragility of life conceived in a vessel of twigs and fleece stirred my imagination; of the remnants woven together to create a simple and unpretentious home, alone in nature; a vessel vulnerable to the forces of the wind, rain and cold; and the impermanence of everything in life that we work so hard to preserve. I became preoccupied with the significance of vessel as a form, and as a metaphor to hold the things we value, for vessels provide a container for meaning.

These wet-felted vessels reflect a poetic participation found in nature. A collection of rocks, shells, seedpods and other organic forms share an inherent interrelatedness.  They elicit transcendent feelings; a visual metaphor for things coming into and out of existence. Representing the primordial forces that underlie our everyday world. A philosophical construct of the natural process that goes beyond what our ordinary senses can perceive. Weather worn pods and shells invite you to pick them up and handle them. They beckon us to get close, touch and relate.

The essence of these vessels portray soft organic shapes, a tactile sensation with an almost sponge-like quality, repetitive patterning, and oceanic colors that blend during the felting process just as watercolors blend in a painting. The wet-felting method too is organic as the felt can be shaped and molded throughout the process. It undergoes unlimited transformations. Fully felted fleece yields a very strong yet flexible cloth. This collection began as an experimental project to explore the sculptural properties attained by varying the thickness of the fleece. The process begins with watercolor sketches of natural found objects. Drawing is essential to developing ideas. Then the fleece is blended to create the desired color palette.