Arts in Conservation Education

Artist in Residence

Elizabeth Billings, the 2007 artist-in-residence at the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock, Vermont, educates people about the conservation of natural resources through her distinctive weaving style. Billings uses locally gathered materials—including reeds, fir needles, stalks, grasses, and saplings—to create textiles that literally and metaphorically connect people to nature. Following her training in Vermont with a master weaver, Billings traveled to Japan where she apprenticed with an ikat weaver. Billings’ global education and creativity have brought together different styles of weaving, which not only illustrate the connection between material and nature, but also offer dialogues between different cultures and the environment. The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park provides the perfect opportunity for the conversations inspired by that art.

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Elizabeth Billings weaves together natural materials such as stalks, stems, needles, grasses, and saplings to explore the role of art in inspiring public awareness of land stewardship and conservation. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Made from the needles of Norway Spruce trees planted in the Park in the 1800s and the rootlets of the first contemporary planting more than one hundred years later, this piece by Elizabeth Billings emphasizes the historical and cultural connections of her artwork. Photo by M.F. Sacca

Woven from bark found on the grounds of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, this piece exemplifies Elizabeth Billings’ work to merge locally gathered natural material with world-wide environmental and cultural awareness. Photo by M.F. Sacca