weaver, was born at Kurri Kurri, NSW, an only child. Trained at East Sydney Technical College (National Art School), Sydney, 1951-56. Married painter Leonard Hessing in the late 1950s and worked as a teacher and design consultant until 1962, when she became a full-time 'fibre artist’. In 1967 she went overseas to study weaving and spent a significant year in India in 1968, where she was commissioned by Patwant Singh, editor of Indian Design to make a wall-sized tapestry. From the late 1960s to the 1980s she became known for her giant weavings in public buildings, which were widely exhibited from the early 1970s, in particular in Clay + Fibre -with ceramic artist Marea Gazzard – at NGV and later at Bonython Gallery, Sydney, 1973. That same year she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to study overseas and returned to India. (She had a last Indian trip in the late 1990s.)

Hessing used a range of materials including silk, jute, sisal, wool and synthetic fibres. She said in 1972: 'The concept of a non-rigid, yielding, flexible form that grows and develops at each touvh is tremendously exciting. It includes a subtle relationship of things within things and the final form that contains within itself countless co-ordinated events.’ Major commissions included weavings for the Wentworth Memorial Chapel, Vaucluse (1967), the Menzies Hotel, Sydney (1969), the Australian Embassy, Paris (1977), the Orange Civic Centre, NSW (1978) and the Sydney Masonic Centre (1979). Her enormous Banner (1970) is in the Clancy Auditorium UNSW.

In 1974 Hessing was one of the three craftspeople featured in the film One Weft Double Cloth , commissioned from Film Australia by the Crafts Council of Australia. Shortly afterwards, she moved to rural NSW with the film’s director James Coffey, 'to create’, she said, 'total environment, sustaining and beautiful’. She led a reclusive life, breeding horses and participating in Landcare projects, though she continued to make smaller weavings, including the Cycle Series One 1984 – her response to severe drought. After briefly living in Mudgeeraba, Queensland in the late 1980s, she moved to Tuross Head on the NSW South Coast in 1990 to care for her mother, where she remained permanently. She began working and exhibiting more seriously again, showing the results at the Hidden Valley Gallery, Bodalla, at the Priory, Bingie, and in late 2000 at the Canberra Museum and Art Gallery. Aged 68, Hessing died suddenly of a brain hamorrage while driving from her home at Tuross Head to Canberra. She was survived by her partner of recent years, Norman Sanders.

Staff Writer
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