Stemless Champagne flutes in a rainbow of gorgeous shades.
Cheryl Saban shares the story behind Saban Glass, her handcrafted line of artisan glass creations.
Los Angeles-based Cheryl Saban wears many hats. While her last name may be synonymous with philanthropic giving—she and her husband, Haim, have generously supported the newly opened Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, among many other worthy organizations—she is also the force behind Saban Glass (sabanglassware.com), her artisan glass company that creates colorful drinkware, serving pieces, vases and more.
Cheryl Saban at work
Saban—who was an art major in college and has dabbled in writing, singing, pottery and painting since—first experimented with blowing glass more than a decade ago. “It was basically just curiosity. I took a class in 2009 with a girlfriend and fell in love with it,” she says. “It’s hot, sweaty, dirty and dangerous... and an incredibly different art form for me.”
At first, Saban made paperweights, and then moved on to creating tumblers. “I fell into the tumbler groove and decided that was going to be my niche. I love the feeling of a colorful glass in my hand,” she says. From there, she expanded into making bowls and vases, all objects that require different skills to create.
The Betty lamp
Although she’s been at it for about 12 years, Saban is still learning, something that’s intrinsically built into the craft—one that’s traditionally a male-dominated field. For a long time she worked with a master glassblower who guided her. “It’s extremely challenging,” she explains. “I’m still building my skill set.”
As for what keeps her drawn to a 2,100-degree furnace, “The art of blowing glass is a flow experience—you have to be fully present when doing it. You cannot be thinking of getting the kids home from school or the shopping list if you’re going down a mountain at 30 mph. It just doesn’t work. You can get hurt or killed,” she continues. “And with glass, you can get burned badly. So your mind has to be there.”
A variety of pieces from Saban Glass
Beyond creating beautiful, last-a-lifetime heirloom pieces, Saban—who collects glass from a number of artists, including Dale Chihuly—unsurprisingly has a charitable component built into her business: For each piece sold, $3 goes to Baby2Baby, an L.A.-based organization that helps children and mothers in need. “That’s a big part of who I am as a person, but it’s also the philosophy as a glassblowing team to give back.”
Although Saban Glass’ Beverly Hills storefront recently closed after several years open, the company continues to grow organically, with about 45% of the business now wholesale. “Our goal is to continue to grow, continue to be able to handle our production, and to get more glassware into more homes. Th e idea is to give people a smile.”
Stemless wine glasses from the Sheer collection.
As for Saban, she’s certainly found her niche with a craft that keeps her interested and excited every day. “I call it addicting—when you find a passion in your life and you’re happy to wake up and go after it every day,” she says. “And if you can make a living out of it, it’s like you’ve won the lottery. If you have these things that capture your emotions, capture your attention and engage your mind physically, you’re engaged in every which way. It ends up being very exhilarating.”
“If you have these things that capture your emotions, capture your attention and engage your mind physically, you’re engaged in every which way. It ends up being very exhilarating.”