.:| ISSUE 12 |:.
ARTIST Laura Spreitzer is the owner and designer of >>HahooKnits<< tiny apparel. She has been creating things with her hands her whole life, but it wasn't until she turned 30 that she really began to explore all sorts of craft media. Lately she can't get enough of knitting tiny things! Living in Asheville, NC has opened up her creativity world. She loves possibilities, and a skein of yarn or a ball of clay or a length of steel is so exciting to her because they can become anything -- and it's in that time between the what is and the became that she feels most happily suspended. However, she really does get a kick out of each of the tiny things she makes -- it's like her hands are busy doing something ...and then suddenly she's holding a tiny sweater! Doing, Becoming, Creating -- these are some of her most favorite words.
POET Judith Lloyd is an artist, writer, and monologist who studied in the Iowa Writers' Workshop as an undergraduate. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Her first publication, Read It Back was published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014.
.:| Editors' Notes: Letisia Cruz & Heather Lang |:.
a container for holy relics.
Reliquaries of saints are often placed on altars and assembled in church sanctuaries. Considered by many to be more valuable than gold, the reliquaries themselves are sometimes covered in precious stones and gems. Traditionally, these sacred vessels were not only fashioned into busts but also full-body statues of revered saints.
Traditionally, reliquaries depict narrative scenes from the lives of the saints they embody. However, in ISSUE 12, Judith Lloyd’s poem “Reliquary” paired with Laura Spreitzer’s image calls to mind a different kind of reliquary – the body depicted by Spreitzer’s photograph is that of an 11.5 inch unmarked plastic Barbie doll.
Barbie has been around since 1959, and she has certainly faced her fair share of criticism for everything ranging from physical proportions to clothing dimensions and even her 100+ career choices. While the Barbie debate will likely continue as it has for years to come, ISSUE 12 focuses on the image of a plastic doll in more general terms – as a representation of the body.
Perhaps what we find most striking about the pairing of Lloyd’s poem with Spreitzer’s image is the way that it speaks to us of gender roles. We instantly learn from the first line of the poem that the speaker is “ironing [an] old white shirt.” The fact that the shirt is white, the color of sacredness and purity, and the fact that the speaker wishes to “lie” against it, speaks volumes about the relationship, and maybe it becomes easy to assign traditional roles to this development. The combination with the female plastic doll allows us to assume that the speaker is a woman and that the shirt she is ironing must necessarily belong to a man.
But the fact is that this information isn’t provided in writing. We do not know who the speaker is or who is being addressed. Perhaps the speaker identifies with the female form as a reliquary of emotion. Maybe the speaker is a man, ironing his female lover’s shirt as he envisions her body as that of a plastic doll, a now empty vessel that is no longer sacred to him. Or maybe both the speaker and her lover are women. Or men. In fact, none of this matters.
When we examine the relationship between Spreitzer’s image and Lloyd’s poem more closely, we find that human experience cannot be reduced to gender. Also, we discover that the warmly ironed shirt that the speaker sleeps with might best represent the reliquary of this relationship. All reliquaries must, by design, contain a cavity: the shirt is “worn with holes.”
Welcome to ISSUE 12 of Petite Hound Press. We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate equal rights. While artistic and religious depictions of the human form, including illustrations, paintings, figurines, and dolls, often highlight cultural values toward race and gender, we at Petite Hound Press believe that the human body is a mere vessel—a reliquary for something more, which exists outside of constructs like race and gender and should be celebrated in every form.