Deborah Loxam-Kohl is combining her love for art and felt to inspire a new invention.

Winlaw’s Deborah Loxam-Kohl talks about felting and inventing

Winlaw artist Deborah Loxam-Kohl shares her new invention the Form Felting Machine.

Inside the walls of Deborah Loxam-Kohl’s cottage-style home in Winlaw, rolls of wool batting line the kitchen counter, side tables and every other available surface.

The material, in its unprocessed form, has a consistency like cotton candy. Loxam-Kohl recently ordered 30-pounds of it, in every colour her supplier offered.

Most fibre artists would need months to get through all that wool. But Loxam-Kohl has invented a machine to make wet-felting much faster, not to mention easier on the body.

“I wouldn’t be working with felt in-the-round if I had to do it by hand,” Loxam-Kohl said. “I tried it once and thought, ‘there must be a better way.’”

It took Loxam-Kohl two-years to develop a working prototype of the machine, which she completed in 2003. Then she started down the long road of patenting the technology. By the end of this year she hopes to have a studio model ready to sell to other designers.

On paper her invention is called the Form Felting Machine, but at home she lovingly refers to it as the “Frankenfelter,” so named because her current model is cobbled together from parts she picked up at hardware and electronic stores.

Whatever you call it, it makes her work a lot easier.

Typically wet-felting involves rubbing or thumping material repeatedly to bind the wool fibres together.

“The machine does the thumping for me,” Loxam-Kohl explained, “rather than my back and wrists taking the pressure.”

A basic project, like making a ball, would take an experienced felter about an hour to finish. Loxam-Kohl’s machine can do the work in 10- minutes.

Last year she used it to create a massive sculptural installation at Oxygen Art Centre, where she spent two months as the artist-in-residence.

Her recent wool order is for a line of usable art, including bowls and felt-covered containers and bottles. The finished products are dense and uniform in texture – nothing like the airy batts of colour sprawling through her house.

She’ll be giving items away as incentives for people who contribute to the fundraising campaign she launched today on IndieGoGo, a website artists use to crowd-source funding for creative projects.

In the next six-weeks, she hopes to raise $10,000 to help her create more prototypes of the Form Felter and move it one step closer to being available for commercial sale.

To support Loxam-Kohl’s campaign and learn more about her invention, visit and search “Form Felt Lab.”


Just Posted

Playmor Junction daycare expansion faces opposition

Neighbours upset with rezoning application, citing traffic, noise and concerns about future uses

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ youth advocate tells Nelson audience

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

Black belt tests on this week at Kootenay Martial Arts

Grandmaster Brenda Sell returns to assist in testing

VIDEO: Candidates at Nelson election forum

Mayoral candidates joined 18 council candidates for an evening of very short answers

Vancouver Island homeowners buy more earthquake insurance than the rest of B.C.

Insurance Bureau of Canada says that’s because the perception of risk is greater on the Island

Jets score 3 late goals to beat Canucks 4-1

Winnipeg ends three-game Vancouver win streak

Two B.C. cannabis dispensaries raided on legalization day

Port Alberni dispensaries ticketed for “unlawful sale” of cannabis

Canada not sending anyone to Saudi business summit

Sources insist Ottawa never intended to dispatch a delegation this time around

Earthquake early-warning sensors installed off coast of B.C.

The first-of-its kind warning sensors are developed by Ocean Networks Canada

VPD ordered to co-operate with B.C. police watchdog probe

According to the IIO, a court is ordering Vancouver police to co-operate with an investigation into a fatal shooting

B.C. woman looks to reduce stigma surrounding weed-smoking moms

Shannon Chiarenza, a Vancouver mom of two, started to act as a guide for newcomers to legal cannabis, specifically mothers

B.C. teen gives away tickets to Ellen Degeneres show, plans O Canada welcome

The Grade 9 student wanted to give away tickets in the spirit of inclusivity

Most Read