Susan Shie explains:
I went to Spain, to Catalonia, to Girona, a small city with a medieval old city center, to have a solo exhibition at INTERQUILT 2012, and to teach classes there. This piece was begun as a class project in one of my classes there. It is the warmer-upper piece I made, before I made a very large piece about this trip and called that one “Dragon Sushi: 9 of Pyrex Cups in the Kitchen Tarot.”
I was having a very magical experience in Spain, as I fell in love with Girona and its ancient Roman, Jewish, and other influenced culture. I had never dreamed that I would come to Spain at all, but had just watched the movie “The Way,” about the pilgrim route across Spain to Santiago de Compostela, and was so charmed by that film, I was in a state of wonder, just stepping foot in Spain. And then there came Girona!
One of the first people I met in Girona was Irene Sanchez, who took me walking through the city one night early on, because she had to take her bike home and thought I’d like to see her house, which I did. And then we made a special side detour on our way to supper, to see La Leona, who delights the locals and tourists alike, with its mysterious little tradition.
This is a statue of a lioness, sort of a realistic gargoyle kind of lioness, clutching a big pole, high up on the pole, and roaring her warning or greeting or whatever, to the world.
This is the deal: La Leona is way up on the pole, across the street from one of the most famous churches in town, Saint Feliu – not to be confused with THE Catheredral in Girona, which is also along the River Onyar, but this one is farther away. Anyhow, Irene showed me La Leona, and then she showed me the not-so-easy-to-climb steps that let you climb up to … to kiss the behind of La Leona. For good luck, of course, and to guarantee that you would come back to Girona. I think, looking back, that I had to come back a second time, to get up the nerve to climb, because I need something to hold onto, if I’m going to climb up much.
But I wanted to come back!
So I kissed her. What a dame!
This little piece is packed full of little memories of Girona and my time there, which was less than two weeks, but was thick with experience and making new friends. You’ll see the beautiful red Eiffel Bridge over the River Onyar, designed by Eiffel before he made the tower in Paris! And there’s the halo drum played at the Cathredral by Perro Lunar (but it’s the front tire of Irene’s bike in my piece. I LOVED that drum and made a tiny video of Perro Lunar playing his hauntingly beautiful music high up above the city at the Cathredral, when my friend Denise Labadie and I walked all those stairs up, up, and up to catch that view, and then walked the ancient Roman wall!)
I expect to go back. I DID kiss that sexy Leona!