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We lost one of our own this week and I just want to say that I will miss glass blower Joe Becker. He was a fine artist, a true character and an interesting man. He was my friend and a neighbor in the winter when the artist tribe from Minnesota made their trek south. I am so sorry and I want to send love and hugs to Joes family especially his brother Doug. I know everyone has a Joe Becker story. I think it would be nice if we share them right here in his honor. I'll start:

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I was lucky to do Uptown a few years ago and even luckier to be a part of Joe and Dougs Annual Drunk & Stupor Day on the Monday following the show. I stayed at Joe's for the weekend so we all worked hard getting ready for the Monday after show party. There is always live music, lots of great food, glass blowing by all the greats in our art show world and there's always something crazy. When I saw Joe driving a tractor shirtless and laughing with a giant tree tripod dangling from a huge chain. He maneuvered the tree into a spot in the center of the party. They unhooked it and Joe drove off behind the house again. You could hear chainsaws cutting notches in wood. Moments later Joe reappeared with a huge limbless pine tree hanging from the chain. He carefully brought the tree over to the other tree and dropped the notch onto the perfect notched spot on the tripod, unhooked the chain, moved the tractor away, got down and walked over to the biggest teeter totter that's ever been built in the world and yelled "get on". And everyone did. It was crazy and dangerous and incredible all at the same time. I will always think good thoughts for you Joey. Love you. Rest in Peace.

I did not know Joe, Carroll, but know he was an important member of the glassblower community and a fixture among Minnesota artists.

Here is an obituary from the Minneapolis Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/134264/?fullname=josep...

And here is a wonderful article about Joe and his work:

http://abcnewspapers.com/2014/05/16/local-artist-brings-light-and-l...

Joe Becker and I were friends for some 20 plus years. The last 10 or so he was my neighbor as well.
About ten years ago I went with Joe to help at the spring art fairs in Florida. At the Naples show Joe was getting a bit tipsy, not uncommon for Joe.Part of his sales talk to potential buyers concerned a particular piece of his glass. One of the more expensive ones and LARGE. He would tell people that it had been used as a "door stop" at his farmhouse until recently when he decided to finish it. When I had him alone I said "Joe you can't tell people that ".  He laughed at me and said "of course I can, I can say anything I want and if they want it they'll buy it and if not no big deal".
Not long after that a gentleman came by and purchased that piece along with four others for some $7000 to $8000 bucks! That was after he gave him that same talk. I never said another word about his salesmanship.

Joe blew glass bare foot! I never understood how he could avoid getting cut. Tough feet?

I've included an image of him at work and of course his feet!
A very charismatic man who was loved by many. He fought his demons and he lost. We should all be aware that happiness can be paper thin at times. Love your friends and take good care of yourselves.
I'll miss the man and I'll miss his parties. No more chicken poop gambling on the farm. Now THAT was fun!

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Fifteen years ago, I met glass blower, Joseph Becker, at a Disney art show. He was a charismatic man with a kind heart. I was staring at his beautiful glassware mesmerized by the artistry. He asked which piece I like best. Looking over all of the stunning pieces, I told him that I liked this one the best. He asked, "Why?" I said, "Because all of the other pieces are screaming out with their bright and beautiful colors trying to get noticed, while this colorless one is sitting over here quietly being noticed for its simplicity reflecting all of the colors of the world in its folds." He offered to sell it to me for half price. I could never afford that. He wrapped it up and insisted that it belonged with me because he felt I could appreciate it even more than any buyer would. We met up each year whenever possible during his trips down from Minnesota to Florida for art shows. Many good memories. He was more than a friend, a brilliant artist, and a genuinely good person. When I felt unworthy, he had a way of making me feel good about my artwork and gave me a world of encouragement. RIP Joseph Becker. You were loved and admired.

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