Youko Sano was born in Tokyo. She first studied American Literature at Seikei University in Tokyo and then spent 5 years working in an IT department at a major Japanese car manufacturing company. One evening at a Tokyo bar, she came cross a beautiful display of individually handcrafted glass tumblers, an experience that was to change her life and led her to sign up for a weekend glass making course in Tokyo.
Sano then worked for seven years at Notojima Glass Studio in Ishikawa. After this she studied glass making at the Canberra School of Art in Australia, together with her husband Takeshi Sano, where she learnt about conceptual thinking as an artist.
After coming back from Australia in 1998, she and Takeshi opened Glass Studio SANOSANO in Toyama, a coastal city in Japan, 200 miles north west of Tokyo. Sano's work has been exhibited at numerous national and international exhibitions and her work has won many awards. Sano creates the shapes of her pieces by blowing the glass and then making cuts on the surface. Her signature blown and carved glass pieces are colourful with a unique woven fabric-like texture.
Sano says ‘I did not plan to be a glass artist, however, I love the time I am working on glass. I often help with my husband’s work, too, which I do not mind at all. I think we are in a good balance working in the same space, maybe because our approaches towards work are quite different’.
Youko Sano with her husband, Takeshi Sano, in their studio