Clark was disappointed when she was not selected to be a civilian war artist. She wrote to H.O. McCurry (1889–1964), the director of the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, and the gallery commissioned her in December 1944 to paint the contribution of the Women’s Division of the Royal Canadian Air Force to the war effort. Parachute Riggers is one of the three works she eventually submitted.
McCurry had instructed her to find a dramatic subject; instead, she gave her subject a dramatic composition. As they pack and repair parachutes, the women’s bodies and arm gestures form a dynamic zigzag pattern across the surface of the picture.