TEDx Fukuoka Women | Using Artists' Books to Connect People | Lucy May Schofield

On May 30th 2015 BABL was introduced to a Japanese audience at the TEDx Fukuoka Women event. It is now available to view online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr57T0RaSjc
‘The BABL project is a public intervention art work, combining a long established interest in the act of reading, emotional fluency, empathy and art as a therapeutic device. 
Lucy May Schofield is an artist and curator of the ‘Bibliotherapy Artist’s Book Library (BABL)’. BABL is a mobile touring library, home to around 200 artists’ publications, offering a unique reading experience to visitors through a combination of mindfulness and bespoke book prescriptions. Her practice focuses on artists’ books, as vessels to communicate. She has initiated projects to encourage access and exposure to engaging art works since 2002.’

TEDxFUKUOKA WOMEN 'Momentum' Event

I am delighted to have asked to present at this years' 'TEDxFukuoka Women' Event on Saturday May 30th. I will be talking about the 'Bibliotherapy Artist's Book Library' project joined by two inspiring speakers whose talks will be based on the event theme 'Momemtum'. 

TEDxFukuokaWomen “Momentum”
Fukuoka, Japan – May 1, 2015
TEDxFukuoka (Joe Okubo, Organizer) will host a public TEDxFukuokaWomen event entitled “Momentum” on Saturday, May 30th, 14:00-19:30, at Momochi Palace (Sawara-ku, Fukuoka).
TEDxFukuokaWomen is one of the 2015 TEDxWomen events being held in Japan. The event will be complemented by 3 exceptional speakers, including Reiko Nakamura, Managing Director of Schawk & Anthem Japan.
This year’s TEDxWomen theme is “Momentum”. In the words of the organizers, “We’ll explore the bold ideas that create momentum in how we think, live and work.”

TEDxWomen session:Session One & Two: 14:00 ~ 17:30 (Open 13:00)
Includes an on-demand screening from Monterey, CA, and three presentations from our local speakers. 
The speakers are as follows:
Izumi Haraga, Nature Art Educator
Reiko Nakamura, Managing Director of Schawk & Anthem Japan
Lucy May Schofield, Artist/Curator, The Bibliotherapy Artist’s Book Library (BABL)
Reception: 18:00 ~ 19:30
Application for tickets: http://peatix.com/event/78911/
More Details can be found at:


There is a place in which the Japan I have experienced so far lives. You are invited there, if you'd like to go. It took me a while to learn that slippers are not to be worn inside tatami rooms in Japan. Each day I am learning how to walk, in my own shoes, slippers and five-finger socks. 

The story of looking

Glaring through the countless misunderstandings of the days I see the beauty around each corner. The ladies, like rare butterflies, flit to and fro hurriedly with wooden shoed elegance, their lives lived on a sprung dance floor. The effort that it takes to be so lovely inspires my daily effort to be brave. I see the beauty in bravery, in looking, in being looked at, in looking lovely. I reinvent some days, creating a version of (little) Edie Bouvier Beale, turban donned, clogs, tights and shorts. 

And some days I want invisibility, skin, cotton, eyes of truth. On Tuesday, whilst invisible, I sipped a cup of familiar, while Jazz lulled me to another island. While there, away from the looking, I remembered and gave thanks to the women I know that encourage the many facets, the many versions of beauty to be visible every day, be it butterfly or caterpillar. 
Today is a slug kind of beauty, but it has not stopped raining for three days and a mohair jumper is my skin.

Beginning to let the light in

The laptop is not a welcome guest in my ancient glass veranda. It precariously topples aloft an imperfect wooden stool, commanding a more linear clean surface than it's designated wabi sabi perch. There is a thin cobweb dangling from the bamboo pole being teased by the breeze. The sun shines once more through the cloudy glass and bathes my toes and wrists in the glorious. I am beginning to notice what I need. I sometimes buck the structure of the day, rearing my head to the learning of the Japanese language, choosing instead to watch the plants, the light. I want to notice nature as much as the Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji that dominate the world outside these paper walls. In turn I am also examining myself. Without the people, things and rituals that provided daily definition, I turn my eyes to the rest. It is a discovery, as though each day I explore both within and around, but struggle to articulate my findings. I take afternoon strolls to get lost in the newness and attempt to start dialogues about all I observe. Those dialogues, that I have always needed to have, wherever in the world I have been, have taken place over tea, across bridges, in parks, on sofas. Here they are all virgin thoughts, some naive or ridiculous, others obvious or contrary, some are laced with wonder and awe. And I feel reluctant to give them flight. In search of where they could reside, without them causing distractions, I wonder and wander. 

There has been a shift here in this dreamy country since the earthquake. I feel that, though I have never visited Japan before. I read about a change in attitude for the future, for the better and I read about the feelings of futility expressed by some. The futility of love, of connecting with another person. I am fearful and then I am inquisitive and questioning. I turn these thoughts into ideas on wood. I study, draw and carve a woodcut in hope. Perhaps this is what Japanese craftsmen have always done. 

Ideas into wood. Concepts to nature. Nature into understanding.

I spend a good deal of each day with my nature. 

one month of looking

As the sunlight dances around the wooden veranda overlooking the wild, un-manicured front garden of the paper-glass house I now call home, my heart is finally regulating. The contemplative 'Tete' compilation pulses in my ears and behind me sits my love, practicing his Kanji diligently. This light is my lubricant, I cannot study when my cold northern skin, deprived of light for this long yearns to be warmed through. Still, in October the day requires no coat, no woolen layer, no protection against the elements here. I am free. The nine neglected coiffured trees soak up my sun too, their swaying leaves kiss one another in the breeze. Tiny winged butterflies flit in the bamboo. The smeared thin glass and mosquito net frames sandwich the dust of living. The Grid of bleached persimmon cloth carries traces of turquoise, maybe yellow in the history of its former curtain glory. A faded sewing machine, stained vanity case, a water marked box, sepia dotted linens are my accompaniments in the warmest corner of here. Being present is what I am here to be. They all let me in, respectfully. 

I seek imperfections. I am at home with the beautiful flaws that surround me. The way that wooden screens stick/slide, the discreet/secret worn wooden locks, the gaping holes between uchi/soto (inside/outside). Everything here requires delicate attention to make it work. It is removed from the ease of modern living, and insists on an attentive mindful way of being. It is wonderful. 

The fear bouts come, they hit me hard and flaw me. They arise from my inability to understand, to be understood, to express. Involuntary muteness has never been a friend of mine. The choice in being silent is another matter entirely. That, I have always craved and required and practiced since being a child. My voice, therefore inaudible, is here in my head instead. I witness and examine, identify, store and house the moments I need, as a reference. For so long ideas have become buried. Piles and stacks of other more pressing matters, distractions, frivolity, ambition, resilience, have silenced them. I am excavating now. Lucky I am to be free of the attention deficit disorder I have lived with. Here I am naked of obligation. The only expectation I have of myself is to survive. Perhaps in time to thrive.

Here, my heart swells and tilts to the front of my chest when I experience the rawness. A magical rawness at being alive. I am tucked in tight between the futon and two blankets listening to the typhoon whirling in the moonlight. I soak swim in the depths of the Japanese bathing tub walking my eyes around every corner of pink peeling paint, telling its story. I celebrate and savour each simple bowl of gohan, cherishing its goodness (the teardrops of farmers). 

I see glimpses of my awareness in his reflections of me and I am love. 

So this is Japan.

After returning from New York 20 months ago a declaration was made.  A decision to live in Japan. As each month passed, our days became strikes off the calendar, marking the closeness of the idea into our real. 

The window is wide open, but air only comes through the blades of the pistachio Mitsubishi metal fan. It's 31 degrees. It's October 7th. I am wearing a '30's Liberty printed cotton dress and am trying to reach calm. Birds are in full song, now the cicadas are silent. The smell of life here is sweetsavouryfreshsmokesea. As I open each drawer I air the mothballs and infuse my scent, mark my space to feel home. The unfamiliar dominates. Familiar has dissolved. The sky promises a thunderstorm soon, which mustn't break me with the heat. 

Each day I find the importance of Being Here. Creating a rhythm to live. Noticing everything. Thankful for the fear. Learning to talk. Standing and remaining. Not running. Making a connection from this point to that, like joining the dots and hoping for a picture. My challenge is here. You're welcome to be here with me. 

Letters of Triangles

письма-‐треугольники - Letters of triangles There was a time in which soldiers, having a prolonged absence from home, were thought to suffer and sometimes die of Nostalgia. This malaise later became known as homesickness. During WWII Russian soldiers sent triangular correspondence to their loved ones. In these письма-треугольники, the letter and envelope were one, allowing censors to access and omit any sensitive material without compromising the structure. The simple design meant the content and address never became separated and made the letters easily identifiable as priority mail to the postal service. 

Letterpress printed edition of 40, of which the first 10 letters are housed in a handmade clamshell box with handkerchief printed linings and special edition triangular letter. Published by Battenburg Press in April of 2013.

During the launch of the new work at the Arnolfini Gallery as part of BABE (Bristol Artists Book Event) the limited edition clamshell box of  'Letters of Triangles' was kindly purchased by Special Collections at Winchester School of Art Library, The Center for Fine Print Research in Bristol and Rare Book dealers Reed Contemporary. The TATE Library also purchased a copy of the edition of 40.


A short time away to where there are no ways in for the outside to get me, to turn my head or disturb my flow. I say goodbye to technology that daily defeats my efforts at stillness. I have been drawing and making quietly and now it's time to write, deep in the woods with not a responsibility to anything but my pen. See you on the other side. 

Lately Lately

It's been an oddly busy few months since returning. The weeks have whooshed by in a flurry of work/flux/imbalance/impermanence. Days of restorative sewing of paper and typesetting are a blurred memory as are the many hours of planning and delivering workshops weekinweekout. Boxes of dearest possessions still lay untouched since September, now shrouded in a thick layer of dust from studio rest. Only now in these days of rest and finally some reflection can I see the way to move towards the next few months. I hope Easter provided a Spring clean of the mind too.


In the coldest of cold months I crawl out my cave only for the promise of what delectable delights await the day. I am given the strength to stay warm and go forth through
Warm loaves of homebaked Sourdough bread/ Beetroot carrot apple juice/nutty berry seedy museli/warm lentil onion salads/heart-shaped love scones with lincolnshire jam/the odd suet syrup sponge experiment.
Snug as a bug and ready for making.

His hope floats me home

Some things shake you, tip you up by the toes and arrest you in your tracks. New additions to your world can do that, be it in miniature form or long limbed tallness. I had two days to rest and think, gaze at that sea and watch the earth's rotation, sunrise to sunset. Virus ridden, head woozy, legs frozen still, inactive. Yet the sound of the waves soothed and lulled as the mind sailed in and out of glorious sleep rich dreams, sun shine through sea clouds and shut tight eyelids, mildly aware of the passing days. Those wings are beginning to grow back, gliding me to a carved out cave made of his hope.

New Happy Year

It's a little past January 1st, yet I always like to hold out on the new years wishes until I've fully survived 'Blue Monday' (statistically the darkest day of every year). So, as the sun reassuringly sets on the 3rd monday of January, may I say a NeW HaPpy YeAR to you.

For me the year of the Dragon brings/ standing in LoVe/ Godmother status (finally)/ a Book fair tour/ plenty more tap/ nights of long dark secret warmth/ letterpress printed editions/ lungfuls of sea air/slow H Van meandering/ new tiny lives/ stimulating collaborations/ NY ideas/ Brandy nightcaps/ poetic ambitions/ oh and a mane of red hair.

2012. The year of possibility.


The F line to Manhattan is syrup and chicken wings
Mary D is the 5 night stay in Brooklyn
The 8 seed bread is sweet and garlic
The smell of the wind is the smell of his hair, the nape of his neck, his earlobes and my missing.

bigger apples

Roller Derby girls have strong legs for rum drinking.
Dancing in Brooklyn is the same as at home.
Brownstone meandering and park loss empties the heart.
The kindness of subway men in the rain puts an ounce back in.

big apple day 1

Big pumpkin in midtown manhattan on day one.
Green mac and split pea soup in a diner across the street.
The New York Art Book fair tonight in Queens requires a subway ride in clogs.

When things shift

friendships forge and they fracture.
I worship their value, but I can still neglect.
everyday I hope to be better at keeping them pocket close and fluently reciprocal.
but I need to be allowed a glass of selfish during an eclipse.