Credit: Alexandra Slezak

The Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, which takes place Aug. 11-19, is known for its carnival rides and farm animals, but it also has contests in dozens of categories. Some of the quirkier include cheese carving and the annual Stang Plumbing toilet and toilet seat decorating contest, which awards cash prizes for the most comely commodes. Silver Spring artist Alexandra Slezak was the blue-ribbon winner in last year’s contest.

Q: Toilet decorating is such a quirky contest. Why did you decide to enter it?

A: I normally work in a lot of reclaimed materials, upcycling stuff like bike chains or synthetic cork, stuff like that. So when I saw the toilet bowl contest, it was just weird enough, and using reclaimed materials, that I wanted to give it a go.

Credit: Alexandra Slezak

Q: How would you describe your winning entry?  

A: [It] was a toilet that was saved from the trash, but it was actually new. It’s called Octopus’s Garden, after the Beatles song, of course. It’s all painted blue with these kind of whimsical underwater flowers around it, and on the inside it has recycled glass, shells, moss and things like that. I tried to create art on the inside and the outside.

Q: Can you give some tips for people who might want to enter this year?

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A: Have fun with it, go all out and use primer!

See Slezak’s artwork at looneymoons.com or on Instagram @looneymoonsarts. For details on the fair and the contests, visit mcagfair.com.

This story appears in the July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine.

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