ARTWORK > Cry Me a River

woodblock print of a crocheted toilet paper cover
Watercolor woodblock print
17 x 11 in (43 x 28 cm)

I made a woodblock print of a beige crocheted toilet paper cover to conjure up the myriad issues around human waste, toilets, and water use. A study conducted in 2016 found that household water use via toilets has fallen from 18.5 gallons per person per day in 1999 to 14.2 gallons in 2016 but, that improvement notwithstanding, treatment of waste water remains challenging. I've known that flushing wipes or tampons will clog sewer systems, but I had no idea that even flushing kleenex challenges water treatment systems because kleenex is treated with a chemical binder to prevent it from breaking down easily. I was also taken aback to learn that low levels of organic wastewater compounds, including prescription and nonprescription drugs and hormones, have been found in streams across the US and that some pharmaceuticals persist in drinking-water despite water treatment processes. Yikes, does this mean that I'm drinking your antidepressants? Also, apparently human beings now poop plastic. We have issues.