Rosie the Riveter © Linda MacDonald

Rosie the Riveter

Linda H MacDonald

Powell, Wyoming, USA

Artist Statement

It was a photo of my niece Cherrie, dressed as Rosie the Riverter, that inspired me to choose Rosie as my subject for the HERstory project.

I feel the history of women would not be complete without mention of Rosie the Riverter, since she is the embodiment of so many women during World War II. Rosie is a celebration of women and their ability to adapt to and conquer any situation that comes along. They accomplished this additional workload and still provided for their children and home.

The famous “We Can Do It!” poster, produced by J. Howard Miller in 1943, was meant to inspire women to work outside the home. In addition to working in factories, women of this time period were encouraged to grow Victory Gardens and to preserve and can their produce as a means to provide for their families during a time of growing food shortages.

The term “Rosie the Riveter” was first coined in a song by the same name composed by Redd Evans and Jacob John Loeb. This verse tells the story of the women who helped win the war.

All the day long,
Whether rain or shine,
She’s a part of the assembly line.
She’s making history,
Working for victory,
Rosie the Riveter.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

“Rosie” is the name given to women whose work helped to win World War II. These women filled the many factory jobs left vacant when the men went to fight the war.


I chose to depict Rosie in a factory setting, using commercial gray fabrics for the background. The cloth-painted “Rosie” was purchased from a custom fabric web site. Her image was cut out, quilted to a wool batting, and then appliqued onto the background which I had previously quilted. Her iconic red dotted head-scarf was made from another piece of fabric.


The textile art piece is adorned with Hot Fix rivets in keeping with the theme. Also beads were used to add depth and texture to the name.

Some of the lyrics to the “Rosie the Riverter” song were printed onto an organza overlay. This verse tells the story of the women who helped win the war.

Photo courtesy Kathy Lichtendahl, Light in the Valley, LLC