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Mona Hessing

1933 – 2001

Mona Hessing (1933-2001) weaver, was described as having made a 'very significant contribution from the late 1960s into the 1980s to the development of weaving as monumental public sculpture. She was instrumental in moving weaving from the perceived constraints of fine cloth made on a loom to the freedom, scope and scale of constructing three-dimensional hand-woven forms in a range of weaving and knotting techniques.' Hessing was born near Cessnock, NSW and studied at the National Art School in Sydney between 1951 and 1956. In 1962 she set herself up as a 'fibre artist'. A study trip to India in 1967 proved a decisive influence on her use of materials and 'off-loom' techniques.

The late 1960s and early 1970s were the peak of her public profile as a fibre artist. In 1973 she shared the exhibition Clay + Fibre, with ceramist Marea Gazzard at the National Gallery of Victoria; in the same year she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship. Her work was included in international exhibitions such as the Biennale of Contemporary Tapestry in Lausanne, Switzerland (1967, 1969), an International Design Exhibition in Stuttgart (1969), the first World Crafts Council exhibition, Toronto (1974) and numerous other exhibitions in Australia, New York, London and South-East Asia. Major commissions in Australia included works for the Wentworth Memorial Chapel, Vaucluse (1967), Goldstein Hall, University of NSW (1968), the Menzies Hotel, Sydney (1969), the Australian Embassy, Paris (1977), the Orange Civic Centre, NSW (1978), and the Masonic Centre, Sydney (1979). Her 21-metre wide Banner (1970), can still be seen in the Clancy auditorium, University of NSW.

Updated 2018