Sandwich tile artist Susan Davies turns treasured seaside memories into timeless decorative murals for homeowners.
Susan Davies takes comfort in knowing her artwork, unlike other artists’ more movable mediums, isn’t going to end up at a yard sale—at least not without some heavy machinery. “If someone wants to move my artwork, they need a chainsaw to take it out,” says the Sandwich artist.
Davies identifies herself as a painter, but it’s what she paints that makes her so unique. She hand paints porcelain and ceramic tile for kitchen and bathroom murals. Although her journey to custom tiling wasn’t always direct—she worked at a bank and in several semi-creative, but ultimately unsatisfying endeavors before her stepmother taught her the craft—she couldn’t be more sure or more pleased with how her life has unfolded. “I knew in the end [fine art] was where I was going to end up,” she says with conviction.
Although Davies grew up in Westborough, Massachusetts, she has deep Cape roots. She and her family summered on the Cape in Barnstable Village when she was a child. They stayed in a cottage pogo, a cottage constructed on sturdy posts to prevent it from touching the water that rose underneath the house on moon tides. Davies says she spent hours in the marsh next door “just picking up stuff.” She reminisces about the happy days when her family went boating and quahoging, or visiting Sturgis Library to borrow books.
These days, the artist’s home doesn’t lie far from those sweet memories. Her house, barn, and converted living room gallery lie tucked off winding Santuit-Newtown Road just over the Sandwich town line. Chickens and roosters dawdle around her lawn and on her picnic table, avoiding the constraints of the pen they occupy in the evening. Davies chuckles as she thoughtfully explains that she thinks the birds need stimulation and things to play with, too, which is why a single office chair sits in the middle of the pen.