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Freda Diesing is Haida of the Sadsugohilanes Clan. She was born in Prince Rupert, BC, to parents Flossie and Frank Johnson. Diesing attended the Vancouver School of Art (Now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) and subsequently developed an interest in her Haida heritage. She began wood carving in her early 40s and was one of the first students at Gitanmaax School of Northwest Coast Indian Art and Design, BC, working with in other master artists, Tony Hunt, Dempsey Bob and Robert Davidson. She became an adept carver and eventually taught at the same school, as well as the University of Southeast Alaska in Sitka, USA. She was also an accomplished maker of button blankets, jewelry, and silkscreen prints.
Diesing was one of the first women carvers in the Modern Northwest Coast art world. In 1987, she spearheaded the carving and raising of two totem poles for the Tsimshian community of Kitsumkalum with most of her assistants being women―a groundbreaking decision in a practice that has traditionally been male dominated. These poles would be the first to be erected in 150 years. Additionally, having worked with many of the great Northwest Coast artists producing today, her teachings have had a huge impact on the Northwest Coast art world. In 2006 the art school at Northwest Community College in Terrace, BC was named "The Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art" in her honour. Many artists acknowledge her as a major influence as both a teacher and artist.
Her work is widely collected both with BC and internationally. She received numerous awards for her art and for role in contemporary Northwest Coast art traditions.