As lovers of all things Etsy, we’re constantly on the lookout for talented artists on the platform. And we’re pretty sure you’re going to LOVE our latest discovery as much as us! Be prepared for the jaw-droppingly gorgeous textiles by Ayako Matsuo of ito.

Ayako got her creativity from her mother and grandmother, as well as learning from an Indian monk. So humble, she doesn’t even see herself as an artist. We certainly disagree!

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cushions by ito
Ayako Matsuo from ito
Ayako Matsuo | The Japanese textile artist behind ito

Ayako is a Japanese artist, living in Germany who learnt her craft from an early age.

“I’m a textile artist from Japan but I have lived in Berlin, Germany since 2015,” explains Ayako.

“I moved 7 years for no particular reason but I feel so comfortable here. A lot of people in Berlin are naturally creative.

“My mother and grandmother sewed clothes and knitted things, so I have been familiar with textile work since I was a child. As a teenager, I was quite tall and there were not many clothes in my size! So I started making my own and making textiles was a natural progression.

Then in my early 20s, I was in India for a few months. At that time, I learnt macrame and embroidery from Babaji — an Indian monk.

“From that moment on, I found that I never got bored of textile work.”

rug handmade by ito
cushions by ito

A lover of DIY, Ayako finds pure joy in creating.

“Since my move to Berlin, I have been even more inspired to DIY. So many people here create their own furniture or interiors. It was so impressive that I decided to try some DIY projects myself,” says Ayako.

“I did things like painting the walls in my room at first. Then I made a bed and some shelving. I love it! Especially woodwork.

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’m an artist. My textile work is a format of products. I like the balance between products and art.

“Two years ago I discovered tufting. I immediately knew it was the perfect technique for me. Tufting gives me more scope for my creative mind. The process of my work is meditative. It is something I really, truly enjoy.”

Ayako Matsuo working with tufting gun
Rug by ito

The designs from ito are inspired by hieroglyphics and unique alphabets from different languages around the world.

“In my early twenties, I backpacked through south Asia and India. The different countries and cultures I experienced were so inspiring.

“I’ve always loved the shapes of alphabets. I find inspiration from different hieroglyphs and alphabets. Ones like Kanji, a Chinese alphabet that is also used in Japan.

“My name, ‘ito’, means string or thread in Japanese. ‘ito’ is the beginning of any textile creation. My logo (3 circles with some lines) is also from old Kanji and Runes of ITO.”

Rug and cushions by ito

As a full-time artist (we claim that she IS an artist, despite her reservations!) Ayako’s designs are mostly decided spontaneously.

“Since I began ito, it has been my full-time job. My work style has gradually changed, mostly due to the pandemic,” Ayako explains.

“Before the pandemic, I was selling my creations at local markets. I wasn’t interested in an online shop or social media so much. Now, however, I’m focused much more online. But I still like to connect with people face-to-face.

“I don’t make many designs at the same time. I decide a format first — cushion, rug or wall decor — then I make a design for that shape. It’s all quite spontaneous!

“Once I make the design, the creative process is quite quick. Most of my time is spent finding the best materials and colours, actually!”

Macrame plant hanger by ito
Deck chair and cushions by ito

As a 2022 Etsy Design Award nominee, we’re certain that this is just the beginning for ito.

“When my work was nominated in the Etsy Design Awards, I was so happy that somebody liked my work! In the future, I would like to make something in a different format. I have always focussed on home decor but perhaps I might try different techniques like weaving.

“Last winter I did an installation called ‘Blue Room’. It was a floating space that was super unique.

“Maybe something optimistic for my future is that I would like to sell my work in stores or places in Japan. Then I could visit Japan on half holiday and half work!

“It would be great if I had places to sell my creations. Maybe even in Australia! That would be super!” says Ayako with a smile.

We wish Ayako luck in the Esty Design Awards and can’t wait to see what the future holds. To discover more from this incredibly talented, humble maker, be sure to check out the ito Instagram page and Esty shop.

More interviews with creatives here

Deck chair and art install by ito
Blue Room install
cushion and rug by ito
tufted mirror by ito
Ayako Matsuo using tufing gun to make craft
Instal of handmade items by ito
cushion detail up close by ito

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