Alvin Becraft the glass blower,
The Becraft Hand-Blown Glass Factory, located in Sebastian County, Fort Smith, Arkansas, on 2023 Short Fifthteenth Street between 1955-1972. Alvin Becraft and a friend began building a one room galvanized factory with a gift shop in his own back yard. He developed a business that ran a five man production line. My grandfather Alvin Becraft was a long time experienced and skilled glass blower. An artist before his time with passion for an extraordinary craft. This craft is responsible for Alvin's success. In fact Alvin first witnessed this amazing craft while walking to school. He would stop and peer through the window of a glass shop of The Bartlett and Collins Glass Co. In 1922, this shop was well known for crafting milk bottles and lamp covers. A tine when the community had just named Oklahoma the 46th state . Their were many glass men of this era while each one of them held a special flair close to their hearts, each one was a little different in tecnique and style than the next one. They had work ethics we do not see in our workers today. Glass blowers had a different kind of drive and respect than many. With the ideas and innovative skills they were able to grab the attention for potential buyers. By knowing where the customers interest lay. Knowing this gave him leverage in this competative craft. Having innovative ideas imaginations seemed to build in each of these highly skilled passionate blowers. All of them knowing what exactly to add to their array of pieces. It too became an art in its self. It seems these men had alot of secrets they took with them. I once heard a story of a highly well to do glass blower had bull dozed all of his molds in an effort to hold his true pieces he crafted from any diplicates. All in which my grandfather did not have the opportunity to do so. My grandfather was humble not realizing the true value of his talent. All of these early twentieth Century men that had a passion for glass blowing were always using a business mind with an creative focus. In many a free style way of placing the frit down, while others were methodical. My grandfather known to mostly use plate glass windows broken beer bottles breaking up and adding glass click clacks, marbles, glass beads and more. Cullet or frit shows up in the look of his consistent and repetitive patterns appearing in his colors and swirls that are seen in his glass today. Lets start with a pattern of his placement of his frit. Frit is the color crystals to put color into a clear piece of glass. A method for madness becomes apparent. He was a master skilled , seasoned in all the steps focusing on his placement of his frit. My grandfather was a stickler of the placement of his frit (color crystals) aligning the frit where he wanted his colors were planned and executed just right, appearing to be habitual with swirls showing a form free style the frit is how he made his glass look so consistant like in his popular drinking glasses and pitcher sets. My grandfathers glass is quite original practically impossible to mistaken Becraft Glass from other glass. I believe the workers followed Ralph to his shop after my grandfather passed. My grandfathers glass was a type of free style using a mold. Many of the 20 th Century glass blowers used this technique. This is why Alvin was able to match the pitcher sets almost perfectly and precise. If you notice in his cobalt blues he has a purple tone next to the clear blue blending unlike I have seen in any other of the cobalt blue pieces in other artists glass pieces. Quality and careful packing seemed to be another focal point, when preparing and sending them out of state to his customers he made sure to do his glass to perfection. Only to stack his flawed pieces on the curb outside. Factory workers would drive by in the evening after work picking up the flawed pieces on the curb side. This is where the name , "End of The Day Glass" expression came from. I remember visiting my grandparents from California, my grandfather Alvin and Uncle Ralph as well as a few other men He was very busy when he was working. He had his head down and sorting some glass on a make shift counter out of cement than rolling his glass only after swinging it there was a conveyer belt in the middle of the shop that would take the glass to cool and than finally stopping in the gift shop from the factory.There was also a storage garage he extended that was attached to the side storing all the glass not being displayed. It was memorable to say the least. I was blowing a vase one time instead of setting frit out for me I think he just threw it in the furnace instead of laying it out. My grandmother was very protective about us children in the factory because of the hot fires and danger involved. He never gave it much thought. He always just laughed about it. My grandfather was a proud man. I am not sure he really knew how popular and sought after his glass would be or how far it would get out to his admirers. I am sure he never imagined it would be like it is today on the World Wide Web .This craft was just a job in the beginning as it seems though Alvin worked his whole life mostly in the glass business. Although he may have had to grab what he knew never the less he was an artist and skilled from a life time if hard diligent work.
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