The Year 12 St Stephen�s School Carramar student won the textiles/wearable art category at the St George�s Art exhibition for her piece Beautiful Bruises.
Her work was among 156 pieces submitted by students in years 10 to 12 from across the state.
Taking more than five weeks to sew each old battery, bead and sequin onto calico, Tessa said she did a lot of research before her work started to take shape.
She researched the work of artist Ana Tersa Barboza and studied how she could best illustrate a �commentary on abuse�.
�I hope when they first look at it they think it is shiny and beautiful and pretty and it is sequins and it is beads and then they realise the darker themes that it portrays,� the 17-year-old Banksia Grove resident said.
�It�s got that sour taste after because that�s the point of the artwork � to be something that is beautiful although it�s really not at all.�
The stage three visual arts student, who usually prefers to draw stylised and abstract portraits, said she did not expect to win the award.
�It was so surprising,� she said.
�I told my mum when she came (to the exhibition) that I wasn�t going to win anything.
�It was so amazing and so exciting.�