A molten glob of glass turned into an artistic plate right before my eyes. Sam with Hot Glass Academy went to work with the ball of glass and a hollow metal pipe known as a blowpipe. As he heated, molded, and worked with the glass, he explained each step of the process to the growing crowd.

He enjoys exposing fairgoers to the art form, "There's a lot of blank stares. They don't really know what's going on. It looks like magic. But really positive feedback. People love it."

"We provide live glassblowing presentations...We set up a furnace. We have our kiln and oven and all our colors and we create art here at the fair," he says. Sam fielded a variety of questions from the assembled group of spectators.

Sam and his partner work with glass at temperatures north of 2,000 degrees. It takes a least a day for an item created to properly cool in order to be usable, but they remain fragile. It is glass. Items are available for sale.

Hot Glass Academy is a new vendor at the Steele County Free Fair in Owatonna. Fair manager Scott Kozelka says it's a goal to bring in different exhibits each year. There is a schedule of demonstrations, but they will also do an impromptu demo if it's requested.

The glass booth is just north of the St. Mary's Bingo tent, near the north edge of the grandstand. The exhibit is sponsored by Kottke Jewelers.

Sam says they make a lot of functional items such as glasses, bowls, vases, and plates. They also create sculptural items, fruits, pumpkins, and "roses that will never wilt."

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