North Carolina School of the Arts
Mrs. Artom’s Handicrafts:
From Language Drills To Stitchery Skills
The artistic abilities of NCSA are not limited to the
performing arts. The talents are extended beyond the
realm of the theatre.
Mrs. Bianca Artom, an Italian teacher at NCSA,
posseses the skill of stitchery and lace work. Lace work
in the art of creating a picture with a needle and thread;
no fabric is employed. Mrs. Artom recalled seeing
women on the doorsteps do this sort of work, yet, she
learned the art through her own instuition. When asked
what learning process was taken and how she gained the
knowledge of stitchery she simply said, “I just did. ”
She knits, corchets, and sews the majority of her own
clothes. During World War II, she knitted sweaters for
the soldiers. She claims she enjoys knitting, corcheting,
and sewing, but “there is something about stitchery that
is more exciting.”
The design and sketch are the first steps taken before
the actual stitching is started. Mrs. Artom stated that
some projects do not require too much designing but the
work is so extremely intricate that some exhibits take as
much as three to six months to complete.
Mrs. Artom has obtained honors and received many
awards for her work. Her exhibits have been shown at
various places such as: Craftsman of the Eastern
States, 1963, which was included in the traveling show
sponsored by the Smithsonian Institute; “Piedmont
Craft Exhibition”, Charlotte, N.C., 1964 (Honorable
Mention); Needlework Exhibition at Woodlawn Plan
tation, Mount Vernon, 1%4 (Best in the Show, 2 First
Prizes 1 Second Prize); Included in a Special Issue of
“Craft Horizons” (May- June 1964)- “The American
Craftsman”; Included in the book “Hall Hangings”
(1971) by Sarita Rainey, Daivs Publications; Kentucky
Guild Train, 1966; Craftsmen of the Southeastern States,
sponsored by the American Craftsman’s Council,
Raleigh, N.C., 1966; “The Magic' Needle 1966”(Third
Prize), New Hope, Pennsylvania; First International
Exhibit of Embroidery Guild, New York, 1%8, (2 First
Prizes); Sixth Annual Piedmont Craft Exhibition,
C3iarlotte, N.C., 1%9; Sixth Biennial Exhibit, Em
broidery Guild, New York, 1972, (1 Special Award, 1
Although her work is well known and admired
throughout the country, she modestly says, “It is an
honor to be asked into shows without winning prizes.”
Born and raised in Italy, Mrs. Artom has been a
teacher at the Arts and Craft Association of Winston-
Salem for fifteen (15) years. Usually, she has taught
three two hour weekly sessions for beginners, advanced
and night classes. Each 'course consisted of 10 weekly
sessions and included Traditional Italian Embroidery,
or Crewel and Creative Stitchery.
The photographs shown on the left are “the zodiac”
and “snowflakes.” The “zodiac” is constructed out of
six layers of silk organza. The stitch is intensely in
tricate. The exhibit is remarkably professional in the
fact that the front sides and the back side are identical.
The “snowflakes” are an example of lace work, starting
in the center of the middle snowflake, the artist
gradually wrks out to the frame. This work of art took
approximately 3 to 4 months to complete.
The arts of stitchery and lace work are rare and in- '
tense, intricate art requiring both patience and skill.
Mrs. Artom is truly an artist of NCSA.