Irish Tree Alphabet

Katie Holten’s Irish Tree Alphabet allows us to write with Irish Trees. The project explores language ecosystems and the importance of our words and the stories that we tell.

The artist has made drawings of trees, existing natives as well as non-native trees that now call Ireland home due to the changing climate. Each tree replaces a letter in the Latin alphabet; A = Ailm (Scots Pine), B = Beith (Birch), C = Coll (Hazel), etc. The result is a new Irish Tree Alphabet and a typeface called Irish Trees.

The project finds roots and inspiration in Ogham, a medieval alphabet used primarily to write the early Irish language, in which the characters or letters were called feda "trees", or nin "forking branches" due to their shape.

click and type your message in the box below using the Irish Tree Alphabet

Alphabet

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We invite you to write with Irish Trees. Share messages about your visit to VISUAL, secret love letters, or your hopes for the future. Send them to us hello@treealphabet.ie and we may plant some. You might also like to plant a message with trees in your town, village, farm or garden. Let us know!


Download the
Irish Trees
font
A
Download the
Irish Tree Alphabet
poster

Credits:

Katie Holten would like to thank Seoidin O’Sullivan, Eanna Ni Lamhna, Aideen McBride, Cathy Fitzgerald, Martin Lyttle, Gerald Mills, Jessica Traynor, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Ed Cohen, Victoria Shaw, John Holten, Candy Holten and Dillon Cohen. Special thanks to Colm O’Neill for literally making it all possible and to the team at VISUAL, particularly Emma Lucy O’Brien for ensuring this project happened despite the odds. The IRISH TREE ALPHABET germinated in 2017 when Katie Holten was commissioned to create work for Dublin's Treeline Project.

Words Matter:

As part of this season and exhibition, a stage in the center of the gallery offers a shared space for performance and calls to action. In a time when our theatres are closed and physical distancing remains a priority this gallery space will be used by artists to perform and present work that reflects on our responsibility to the greatest common space that we have, the planet, and our hopes for a world that is kind and just. Collaborating artists include, Jessica Traynor, John Scott, Feli Speaks and Tobi Omoteso.

About the Artist:

Katie Holten (b. 1975) lives and works in New York City and Ardee, Co. Louth. A graduate of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, the Hochschule der Kunst in Berlin, and Cornell University in New York. She represented Ireland at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003. Other important solo museum exhibitions include the New Orleans Museum of Art in New Orleans (2012), Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane in Dublin (2010), The Bronx Museum of the Arts in New York (2009); Villa Merkel in Esslingen (2008), Nevada Museum of Art in Reno (2008) and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2007). She has conceived major public commissions including TREE MUSEUM (2009-2010) commemorating the centennial of New York City’s Grand Concourse commissioned by the NYC Parks Department, the Bronx Museum and Wave Hill and the NEW YORK CITY TREE ALPHABET (2018-2019) created while artist in residence with the NYC Parks Department.

colophon

Montaga font

Designed by Alejandra Rodriguez, Montaga is the name of the secondary font used in the Irish Tree Aphabet project.

Download it at this link

Montaga is an Old Style font, inspired by Venetian calligraphy. Her main feature is the strong inclination in the modulation axis, that generates shapes with marked stress. This gives her a strong personality. The uppercases are slender and arrogant, and the narrowness of shapes provide optimum performance.

Montaga is evolving and will be updated. As of now there is only Regular style.

Montaga is a work in progress and will be improved regularly. This means you can request improvements and even fund specific features if they are outside of the current scope of work. For more information follow @ale_guez

Website resources

This website makes use of the excellent client side PDF generator jsPDF for the Irish Tree Alphabet message saving.

Other notable assets that make this website:

IRISH TREE ALPHABET is a project by Katie Holten for VISUAL Carlow 23 July - 18 October 2020