If you can’t find Liz Lawrence, you might try the Goodwill Outlet Store.
She’ll be side by side with the other bargain hunters, joyfully digging through the endless bins of donations to find the hidden gems others miss.
“It’s a treasure hunt. You never know what you’re going to find,” says the Colorado Springs artist. “I found a Harvard crew neck yesterday. And I’m like, ‘nobody grabbed this?’”
She carts her bundle of goodies home, where she splits them into a few piles. She resells the vintage stuff through Depop, a fashion marketplace app, and turns another pile into wearable art that she sells on her website, lizigns.co. The rest of it is all for her, including the working Sony Bluetooth speaker she found recently. It made her day.
Lawrence will sell her work during Saturday’s inaugural Black Lives Create Fest, held behind Platte Furniture on Platte Avenue. The free event will feature 30 Black vendors selling handcrafted goods, services and talents. None of them will pay a vending fee, and all will keep 100 percent of their profits.
The day also will feature music by DJ Sh3vy; poetry readings by Poetry 719 members; live theater by Springs Ensemble Theatre and THEATREdART; speeches; a children’s corner; and food trucks. All activities feature people of color. Masks and physical distancing will be required.
“People can come see other people they may not be aware of and what they’re making in their city,” says Caleb Butcher, an event organizer. “We want to promote and amplify creators who may not get the opportunity all the time.”
Lawrence is no stranger to selling her goods. As a freshman at the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga in 2012, she launched her business She’s Oh So Thrifty and sold vintage clothing. She hosted pop-up shops on campus and at other local events.
“My friends asked where did I get that and I said the thrift shop,” she says. “I like having stuff nobody else has, and being sustainable and using stuff and giving it a second life.”
She decided to add an additional layer to her offerings, and began using her lifelong artistic skills to decorate jackets, pants, skirts and all manner of clothing. A peek at her current online store shows Lizwear jean shorts bedazzled with Winnie the Pooh designs, OshKosh B’gosh overalls with flames decorating the hems and bleached Levi’s jeans. She also has a line of what she’s dubbed Wisdom Purses — thrifted purses with quotes she adds: “Be brave, not perfect”; “Stay true to your craft”; “Trust the process of manifestation.”
Lawrence’s father gifted her with the art of thrifting when she was little. He’d pick her up from her grandmother’s house after school and take her to the thrift stores, where everybody knew him. He was especially skilled at finding money in donated books.
Nowadays, she tries to go thrifting at least twice a week and also works at the local thrift store The Racks. No matter what, she’s always on the hunt for something eye-catching.
“Things that are something like a canvas and I think I could make this a little bit different,” she says. “Or just some bomb vintage pieces I know somebody will wear.”
She’s excited to share her work at the festival and meet more of Colorado Springs.
“I don’t know that many Black people here,” she says. “When I see them, I’m like, ‘what’s up?’ But to meet other artists, it’s always fun to talk about art.”
Contact the writer: 636-0270