Davies recalls one particular client that requested a nautical scene. When Davies discovered he was a former Navy captain, she suggested they make the scene personal to him in some way. Davies ended up painting the very first sailboat he sailed, based on a picture from his 1969 yearbook. She also personalizes her artwork by painting family names into her pieces. Most of the time, her clients won’t know such personal details are there until Davies brings attention to each unique touch.
Davies always encourages her clients to survey her work before she fires or seals it, because once it has been fired or sealed, it cannot be changed. Even when clients defer to her, Davies urges them to see it one last time. “You’re creating your own heirloom,” she says. “The final word is your word. I’m just here to make what you want real.”
Once her clients have okayed her work, Davies fires the tile. She uses a small kiln—the same kiln she bought after working with Joan—that can fire up to 18 square inches worth of tile. Assuming the tile doesn’t crack while being fired, it is ready for installation by professional installers, something Davies insists upon after one too many haphazard family installations.
Perhaps Davies’ most prized mosaic is a fiberglass whale named Bijou that she created for the Cape Cod Whale Trail exhibition in 2006. Bijou currently resides in the RPM Carpets showroom in East Harwich. Bijou is only one of Davies’ many creations, and there are surely many more to come. “I will do this for as long as I can,” Davies says of her future. The joy she reaps from satisfying her clients with her artistry and simultaneously expressing her creativity is as reliable as her roosters’ crack-of-dawn crowing.
Susan Davies’ gallery is located at 23 Newtown Road, Sandwich. Her studio hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday during the summer, and by appointment. For information, go to www.susandaviesartist.com.