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I enjoy creating a unified whole out of seemingly unrelated components, achieving balance through intricate juxtapositions of color, form and texture. 

Vivian Cavalieri, Artist


I enjoy creating a unified whole from seemingly unrelated components. Influenced by childhood summers spent in Venice, I first designed multi-strand necklaces reminiscent of the torsades so prevalent in Venice when I was young.  While those torsades were composed of ten or more twisted strands of identical, small Murano glass beads, I designed complex necklaces that would make the eye dance rather than fixing on a specific segment or stone. 


Bored by symmetry, I sought to create a vibrant balance by juxtaposing colors, textures, and forms. To achieve this, I incorporated a wide range of materials including amber, abalone, freshwater pearls, semiprecious stones, and shells, and I always included — in memory of my Venetian father — at least one Murano glass bead.  Unconsciously, in those necklaces I mirrored the opulent and joyful Venetian style.  


After a decade designing necklaces, I sought to branch out.  I began using segments of necklaces still in inventory to create surrealistic miniature scenes.  I followed the same design principles as I did with my necklaces, avoiding symmetry and achieving balance by juxtaposing color, form, and texture. I wanted each scene to remain intriguing for many years in much the same way that my necklaces make the eye dance. 


Color has always been essential in all my works.  Not surprisingly, my sense of color has been considered “Italianate”.  As with my necklaces, I spend a lot of time selecting the specific colors and shades for my scenes.  Each scene is framed using museum glass to preserve the color intensity and intimacy of the piece by creating the illusion that the viewer is present at the scene.


Shifting from necklaces to miniatures required me to learn new skills, including woodworking, sewing, digital photography manipulation, and especially designing scenes limited by the dimensions of the availability of the desired wooden frames.  Each scene is custom framed in a deep, decorative wooden frame that curves outward to bring the scene or “room” closer to the viewer.  The shift of focus also forced me to take into account the laws of gravity, which have often required adjustments to my original concept.  Though designs may appear simple, these scenes take months to create.


Although I get my inspiration by first selecting a necklace segment, my miniature scenes incorporate a broad range of materials in addition to necklace segments.  I find high quality dollhouse miniatures pair well with the rich components of my necklaces, as do textured fabrics like velvet and satin.  Influenced by the nature surrounding my studio, when I want to include animals, I seek out anatomically correct models, even for surrealistic scenes.  I often use shells found on our oyster farm and while walking the shoreline on the wildlife refuge on nearby Assateague Island.  Mirrors, artboard, paper, ribbon, photographs, and found objects flesh out these scenes, along with whatever else I think a scene requires.  My studio houses a large inventory of all these items, particularly fabrics, shells, and dollhouse miniatures.


My artwork runs the gamut from purely decorative (“Symphony in Yellows and Blues”) to whimsical (“A Domesticated Cat”) to social commentary on themes such as social injustice (“Second Victory (Keep Us Flying)”), immigration ("The Diner (Coming to America)", climate change (“Staycation”) and victim rights (“What Price Silence?”).  Although inspired by a serious theme — say, concern over light pollution — I try to avoid preaching, preferring to make my point through humor ("The Misguided Coyote").  For my conceptual works, the deeper meaning and symbolism of each element is explained in accompanying text and on my website (  Viewers are invited to develop their own interpretations before reading mine.


My works have repeatedly been described as “unique” and “intriguing" because of the way in which I express my thoughts and the unusual pairing of the elements I choose. Above all, though, I want each scene — whatever its motivation — to stand on its own as a work of art and remain enjoyable for years to come.  


For inquiries, or to purchase art, please contact me directly.

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