Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textiles and Politics: Textile Society of America 13th Biennial Symposium Proceedings, Washington, DC, September 18- September 22, 2012.


Copyright 2012 by the author(s).


Northern Californian has a long history of protest and political involvement. For Linda Gass, Gyongy Laky and Linda MacDonald the passion they bring to political issues is reflected in their artwork and the paths their lives have followed. Based on personal interviews and research, this paper will shed light on their views and the artistic means used to express them. Each of these artists is engaged in political activism in her own way. In each case we are drawn in by the form, beauty or humor of the textiles. Closer inspection makes us think deeply about significant political issues. Linda Gass is a silk painter and quilter who thinks globally and acts locally. She has studied where the water used in her Silicon Valley neighborhood comes from, where it is treated, and where garbage and waste go. The delicacy of her medium belies the gravity of water policies she illustrates. Her artwork has become the banner for her political activism. Gyongy Laky's sculptural assemblages of field cuttings with textile antecedents lament the misuse of natural resources. Her legacy at UC Davis Textiles Dept attests to her commitment. Recent work has a strong anti-war message. Words take on a deeper meaning when modeled by Laky's deft hands. Forest conservation issues have long been subject of Linda Mac Donald's painted wholecloth quilts. Humorous imagery is her vehicle for serious content. Her ongoing engagement with "big lumber" is documented in her art. For all three artists, political fever informs their life and art.