CCC instructor shares love of glass blowing with students

Justin Adkins, a 23-year-old, part-time glass-blowing instructor at Clovis Community College, demonstrates his craft Monday afternoon in the entryway to the college. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

His eyes are shielded by dark-colored goggles. He’s seated behind the orange-blue flame of his torch. He begins to shape a bubble from a long, thin stick of Pyrex glass. As the minutes pass, a small, dainty perfume bottle begins to take shape.

Justin Adkins learned his craft from a video he bought on the Internet. The art of glass blowing may be 2,000 years old, but it’s a modern-day marvel for the part-time Clovis Community College instructor.

“That’s the fun in it,” Adkins said Monday afternoon while demonstrating his craft in the college’s entryway. “It’s so basic and we’ve taken it so far.”

Adkins, 23, said he’s spent five years honing his skills. Now he strives to share them with students, hoping to inspire in them the same excitement and enthusiasm he feels.

Scattered on the table around him as he works are colorful lizards and bottles he’s created. A collection of rings sits off to the side.

“It’s very calming” he said. “I definitely have fun.”

Jan Lloyd, chairman of the college art department, said glass blowing was added to the curriculum as a direct result of Adkins’ interest.

“He was just so excited and so enthusiastic,” Lloyd said. “You can’t be around Justin very long without realizing how dedicated he is.”

Lloyd said the class has been a great success since it was introduced four years ago.

“His excitement — students just soak it up. We’ve had some that just want to take it over and over,” Lloyd said.

Inspiring students and sending them a clear message that they can be successful is what the CCC art department works toward, Lloyd said.

Adkins’ dedication and quick mastery of his craft is a perfect example.

“He has gone from a novice to a high professional in a short period of time,” Lloyd said. “We want our students to see that if you want it, you can do it. He has put his love into it — we want to see that in everyone.”