Sabrina Cavinaghi isn’t one to shy away from experimentation. From a move across the globe to a career shift after a chance apprenticeship with a renowned glass artist to testing the limits with fused glass, she relishes unpredictable outcomes. Along her journey, Sabrina has become a highly skilled glass artist with a one-of-a-kind, experimental style.
Sabrina’s early years working with glass were spent creating pieces for luxury department stores. She enjoyed the work but knew she wanted to get out of the box and find her own style. Sabrina now experiments with glass sculptures and three-dimensional pieces while incorporating rich colors and textures. Frequently inspired by nature and textiles, her body of work often infuses intricate patterns and features a range of colors you might find in nature––from earthy tones to vibrant, jewel-like hues.
Read on or watch the video for more of Sabrina’s journey to glass art.
When did you know art was your calling?
I had just moved to the United States from Italy and hadn’t found work yet. My then boyfriend (now husband) had a friend who worked with glass and she was looking for an apprentice in her studio. He said, “Why don’t you try it and see if you like it.” And that’s how I started. The artist and I set up a one-week trial and then after a week of me cutting glass, she said, “You can stay if you like it.” I liked it, so that was that.
What do you love most about creating glass art?
I like that it’s very creative and that you can be very experimental with all the ups and downs. Sometimes that’s great. Sometimes you get not-so-exciting surprises, but out of that you can always learn and come up with new ideas. I love glass as a medium. I love the color. I love the opportunity to play with it and mix it. I like that you can make a pattern and create texture and density. It can be really sculptural or it can be ethereal and play beautifully with light.
What challenges you the most about your work?
I try to move away from the stereotypical idea that fused glass is a bowl or a platter. That’s how I started. We were working on a lot of high-end pieces, but they were small series pieces and it was kind of repetitive. We would come up with one pattern or idea that we wanted to pose in a different set of colors and different shapes but it was mostly a plate or a bowl or a little dish.
I find that kind of boring, so I’ve been trying to do something different with fused glass. It’s kind of limited in the depth and the kind of shapes that I can get it to do. I do have some pieces that are more sculptured and I try to get a three-dimensionality to it.
What inspires your work?
I have to say, I’ve always had a love for textiles. Any textiles or rugs have always been an inspiration for me. In many of my pieces, I try to recreate a part of a textile pattern because I like to use them as elements in the pattern that I make.
I also love nature, especially since I moved away from Italy where nature is very constrained. America, for me, has been the discovery of nature. I thought I was a city girl when I lived in Italy. When I moved to California, I thought, “Wow, I really don’t want to live in the city anymore,” after having the possibility of experiencing nature and its greatness. I get inspiration from nature for the shapes I create but I represent them in a modern way. I think nature has amazing color palettes and I’ve always been inspired by that too.
What drew you to the Celebration of Fine Art?
I got to know about the Celebration through a friend who has been here since the beginning. I came to visit her and I saw this place and I was attracted by the fact that it’s like many galleries under one roof. I also love that you can work here. I’ve been really amazed by discovering all the other artists’ work here and seeing what they do, and the level of craftsmanship.