The strange, original ABOUT TREES is artist Katie Holten‘s unusually diverse anthology of writing about trees, forests, wilderness’s, branches, roots, Nature from ‘primeval atoms’ and cave paintings to the death of a 3,500 year-old cypress tree, from Tree Clocks in Mongolia and forest fragments in the Amazon to Emerson’s language of fossil poetry, and groves of unexpected stories.

Each selection is accompanied by its translation into the Tree Alphabet Holten created. (Every letter of the alphabet corresponds to a specific species of tree.)

It is a book meant to be opened at random. Although we loved the Borges excerpt, and Andrea Zittel’s revelation from the wood she burns to heat her house, we were knocked dead by a page that read, simply Bewilderness. 


Sally Schneider

Bewilderness. That is the best word we’ve heard to describe where we live. It contains so much: wild, bewilder, be, wilder, wilderness, and of course, trees…a space of waiting, both comforting and unsettling, with many ideas and questions cohabiting at once.

It provides answers in a roundabout way, as thinking of the innocence of trees led painted Agnes Martin to find her vision…


Sally Schneider

As for Holten’s Typeface, she wants it to be planted in real life, too.  The font is available for download here.

Tree Alphabet / Katie Holten

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3 replies on “Artists and Writers on Unexpected Ways Trees Impact Us

  1. This looks SO lovely. Will you be providing a link for those of us who would like to buy it via a link to IL?

  2. Double Oops. I meant to send the post out for Monday morning, and take another look before I did. It went too soon, without the link. So THANK YOU for alerting me.
    Here’s where you can get it:

  3. Not sure how I missed this post last fall; I love the post & Katie Holten’s tree alphabet. Did you know the ancient Celts had a tree alphabet, the Beth-Luis-Nion (birch-rowan-ash) that Robert Graves wrote about in the “White Goddess?” Nancy Passmore’s Luna Press lunar calendar features it.

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