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Slipshod Sally Purses

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Each purse focuses on a particular image, becoming extensions of that art. Photo by Kimberly Woods. Each purse focuses on a particular image, becoming extensions of that art. Photo by Kimberly Woods.

Down the hall and far past the rabbit hole, there is a room full of discarded clocks, bits of vintage fabric, boxes of unnamed oddities and books shoved full of torn pictures and scraps of notes.

This is where you'll most likely find the curious and intriguing Sally, inventor, designer and the alter ego of Kimberly Woods, the flesh and bones behind Slipshod Sally, creator of many one of a kind items, most noted for her purses. It's through Sally's eyes that Kim finds the never ending spring of inspiration for her creations. A creation herself, full of mystery and doors begging to be opened.

"I have an alternate ego that was born when my site was created. It is Sally's person of course that I find most of my creativity. She's my own version of Edward Scissorhands. She's made of rusty gears, springs, and tick tock things... often lubricated with a good dose of Belladonna (her friend and muse). Her father was a taxidermist and her mother, a seamstress. Sally is a magpie collector and never throws anything away. She locks herself away in a dusty shop covered in cobwebs where she daydreams while she works for hours on end. She adores old and forgotten things, tattered doll parts, baneful herbs, discarded mannequin hands, clock gears, skeleton keys, bird's nests and her great grandfather's glass eye. She finds interest in macabre things such as serial killers, vintage circus sideshow, and unique ephemera... morbidity married with strange beauty.

"Sally is a bottomless well of creative energy for me. I'm also not afraid of cutting up books and magazines and saving every good idea that I've seen since 1992. I keep my clippings in a book that I consult often."

Kim felt the satisfaction of selling things she created as early as grade school and in college, she managed to find time to published a pen pal zine named The Gate, which allowed her a venue to sell some of her items for fun, under the name Kimberly's Closet. Priority moved off her creative projects and pen pals as she worked several retail and florist jobs till a year later when she was happily wed to a man who insisted she quit her regular nine to five job.

"I felt more desire to be creative again and go back to doing what's always made me happy. I thought very hard about what would separate me from the other designers out there. One thing I noticed about alternative fashions today is its tendency to appear very costume-ish. That's perfect when you have a fancy event to attend, but not so useful for everyday wear. (How practical is that gorgeous dress hanging in my closet that I wore to that one event, and will I ever get a chance to wear it again? No chance in this little town!) I think that's what directed my decision to sew purses.

"I made a purse for myself and I loved how it added my own personal flare without feeling like my attire was too over done. I made some to experiment on a few friends and they really enjoy them. I was posting my purses on my blogs and started getting requests from the public so I decided to dive in and make arrangements to have a Web site made and here I am. None of this would be possible without the tons of support I get from my husband though."

Her purses are the most sought out items, although she's begun to make belly dancing belts, experimenting with lots of cascading fabrics and yarn. Although they can be worn on stage, they suit a pair of worn out jeans just fine. Each purse focuses on a particular image, becoming extensions of that art almost.

"The process of designing typically starts with a found image that evokes a certain aesthetic for me. I build the purse around the picture. The image hypothetically speaks to me to help me determine the color, shape and style of the purse. Sometimes it can be tricky sewing custom designs... when I'm not so in love with the image assigned to me, I have to spend more time trying to interpret what my customer has envisioned. I guess I'm doing well at that, the custom orders are still coming."

Every item she forms seems to have its own odd backstory, possibly even its own soundtrack with a story perhaps waiting to happen. Silly you may think that inanimate objects such as accessories might have their own soundtrack, but I asked her anyway if there were a soundtrack to her designs, what songs would be on it?

"It's funny you ask because I think just about each purse I've made you could attach a song to. The Whipsmart purse is a perfect illustration of 'Beat my Guest' by Adam Ant. My green Catfight purse would be a good match to Rasputina's 'Girl's school'. The Clove Queen evening bag was inspired by the 'The Clove Queen' song by The Gloomadeers. The Lady of Power bag would fit perfectly with the gypsyesque sounds of Reverend Glasseye. The floral Frankenlady purse could have been made to 'Frankenstein Monster Song' by One Ring Zero or 'I'm her Frankenstein' by Alien Sex Fiend.

"I'm always feeling out music to spark a new design. It's definitely part of the fuel that keeps Slipshod Sally going."


Featured writer

Kirsty Evans

Kirsty is a longtime freelance journalist and former alt-weekly editor who joined the Gothic Beauty staff in 2011. A veteran of the London and Glasgow goth scenes and quintessential Third Culture kid, she grew up in the Middle East, Asia, Scotland, and the US.

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gothic, goth, gothic fashion, slipshod sally, kimberly woods, slipshod sally purses, gothic purses, gothic clothing