FILLMORE : ‘Wearable Art’ on Display at Gallery

Fillmore artist Ellyn Mosbarger’s work has been shown around the world.

What makes Mosbarger’s art different, however, is that it is wearable--simple dresses and jackets that she decorates with Victorian-style handwork, using lace, embroidery and applique.

Mosbarger got her start in wearable art about 15 years ago.

Part of a nationwide movement, creators of art-to-wear range from painters of silk to innovators using plastic filament that twinkles like electric Christmas ornaments.


Mosbarger’s reputation as an exhibitor at galleries across the United States and abroad is one reason Sespe Gallery art coordinator Teri Martinez invited her to show her work in Fillmore.

Mosbarger’s work will be on display at the gallery through Jan. 11.

“She’s taken it to the plane of being an art form,” Martinez said.

Unlike a dressmaker, Mosbarger, 58, doesn’t speak of style, fashion and fit.


Although she sells some of her work, making it takes precedence over marketing it, she said.

“I just want to express an idea,” Mosbarger said.

“I set out to have a new experience.”

Like a painter, Mosbarger titles her garments.


Included in the Fillmore show are “Rags to Roses” and “People Who Live in Glass Trousers Shouldn’t Throw Rhinestones.”

Mosbarger’s fascination with fabric began in the 1970s, during a nationwide crafts resurgence.

Her first break into the art world was at a show sponsored by makers of quilting supplies.

In recent years, networks of garment artists have sprung up nationwide, she said.


An infant organization in Southern California already has 80 members.

It takes Mosbarger about six months to complete an average garment during long hours in her home studio.

It can also be expensive for potential collectors--a Mosbarger vest might cost $150.

Mosbarger has not priced some of the work on display at the Sespe Gallery.


With a sketchbook bulging with ideas, Mosbarger has her work cut out for her.

“This is how I want to live my life,” Mosbarger said.

“It’s my sculpture, my painting--I love the feeling.”