Lamps and Art of Stained Glass and Fine Woods


____Artist's Bio_____________
Skip Thomsen was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and from a very early age loved to draw. Also from an early age, he was fascinated by the stained glass windows seen in those days, mostly in churches.
Some thirty-five years ago, he found an inspiring glass artist in his then hometown of Lafayette, California, and learned that this person was offering classes. The glass-art passion began.
Thomsen moved to Oregon a few years later and started a glass studio there. He was also a licensed General Contractor and designed and built custom homes on the Oregon Coast. Of course, all of these homes featured numerous stained glass windows, some of which are featured on this Web site.
Another of his long-time passions is fine woodworking, and recently Thomsen decided to combine his wood art and glass art, the result being pieces such as this series, "Glass and Wood."
He first came to Hawai'i in 1972 and was overwhelmed with the incredible splendor and the spiritual mana (strength; power) of these Islands. He moved there (the intention was to stay) in1993 his continual awe of Hawai'i's beauty was the inspiration behind his art. His studio was in his home in the beautiful hills of Hilo.
As a glimpse into Thomsen's varied ventures over the years, he owned and operated a large facility in the San Francisco Bay Area that was devoted to all aspects of repair and maintenance of exotic cars, vintage and newer. He designed and built successful show cars, restored antique vehicles to their original grace, and also did engine conversions. These mostly involved installing modern engines, transmissions, and electrical systems in vintage cars that the owners wanted for reliable daily drivers as opposed to preserving them as antiques or collector cars. This was all way back in the late '60s to early '70s, and another shop was in operation in Oregon until 1993.
In 1979, Thomsen built a homestead on 108 acres of Oregon forest wilderness (on the northern slope of Mt. Hood), designing and building the house, shop, other outbuildings, and the alternative electrical system that ran the entire place. Friends encouraged him to write a manual on how to duplicate the electrical system, and thus began his still-operating publishing company, Oregon Wordworks. He has written and published half a dozen books on various topics over the years, as well as many magazine articles. A companion business in Oregon was an arts-and-entertainment newspaper with a North Coast circulation of 5000 copies.
While in Oregon, he earned his pilot's license and funded his flying by buying old, dilapidated airplanes and using his automotive, machine-shop and electronics skills to refurbish them into like-new showpieces. During those years, his airplanes served him well by chauffeuring his then teen son to and from boarding school, plus lots of business and pleasure flights, as well. The airplanes served him well in getting to auto auctions in California, Oregon And Washington, where he was a licensed auto dealer for many years.
HIs last four years on the Mainland before moving to Hawai'i were in the little Oregon Coast town of Manzanita, where he had a General Contractor's license and designed and built four custom spec homes and remodeled a few more. One of his houses and the art-glass in it is featured on this Web site.
In the last 12 years in Hawai'i, Thomsen and his wife, Camille have been buying old, '50s plantation style homes and bringing them back to their original grace and charm. Never a dull moment!
When the Thomsens bought their newest Hilo home, they dedicated a special room to his glass studio. It had lots of windows and a sweet stream ran right outside! The studio was in full operation for six years and his work was - and still is - featured in various Big Island galleries and has been in shows around the Island, as well.
This home was a Hilo classic that was built in 1948 and is the first home they have ever owned that needed no repairs or updating. Now there would be time for art . . . but in their six years there, a twist entered their lives.
For those last several years, Skip & Camille had been making more and more trips to California's Bay Area to visit their kids and grandkids. It was getting ever more expensive, more complicated and less comfortable to make these trips, so as happens with many Hawai'i families separated by that ocean, they decided to start a search for a possible new home near the kids.
Living in or near a big city was not an option, so they started looking at possibilities within an hour or two of the Bay Area. They found a great place in Forestville, California. Deep in the beautiful Sonoma County Redwoods but at the top of a hill with lots of sunshine, this home is three minutes from a beautiful Russian River beach, it is near the ocean, and is quiet and serene. There's a beautiful feeling of community there that reminds one of Aloha, and that is their new home. There is a brand new glass studio behind the house!
Hawai'i will always be in their hearts, and in addition to his new focus on Sonoma County, the redwoods and the River, Skip will continue to create Hawai'i-inspired art that will be shipped to Big Island galleries and available in Sonoma County galleries as well.
So now it's 2018. The Thomsens moved back to California to be closer to kids and grandkids, right? That was seven years ago. Well, two years ago, Skip's son and his family moved to Sweden. In a few months from now, Camille's daughter's family is moving to North Carolina! Since there was now no more reason to stay in what was becoming an increasingly overcrowded Sonoma County, the triple-digit heat of summer, and after the horrible fires of last year that came frighteningly close to them, they decided to more once more, for the last time . . . They are now in beautiful Florence, Oregon, about a quarter mile from the ocean that will always keep them cool, and their little house is right on one of the 30 lakes within five miles of town. They're just now getting settled in, Skip will soon have his shop and studio up and running and he'll be back in business. At 81 years young, it's anybody's guess for how much longer, but as long as it's still fun, itll still be happening!

Please note: ---If the above Bio appears to be somewhat of a chronological mess, it is only because many, if not most, of Thomsen's various life adventures (experiments?) overlapped by years. For example, Oregon Wordworks has been in operation continuously since 1989 and is still alive and well; the flying years were from about '84 - '93 when Thomsen moved to Hawai'i for the second time; the homestead years were from '78 - '89; and his two mainland stained-glass studios, both in Oregon, were from '74 - '93. The four years in Manzanita, Oregon were from '89 until '93. The auto business was from about 1960 (!) through '89, but he continued as a licensed auto wholesaler and shop-owner from then until '93, dealing mostly exotic cars in the auction arena in California, Oregon and Washington. Thomsen's best friend, a guy with whom he attended Berkeley High School in the '50s, still asks him, "When are you going to grow up and get a real job?"

Gee, he must be very old!

Thomsen has three kids and five grandkids. Camille has one daughter and family, with two granddaughters.

Camille & Skip, in their last year, in Hilo, Hawai'i
Skip & Camille Thomsen are currently looking for a place to set up a new studio. Once that happens, Skip will again be available for glass design, construction and installation anywhere in the Central OregonCoast area. If you take a liking to any of the original works shown on this Web site, he can also design you a new one that is similar in nature, but not a copy of the original. Thomsen also encourages the networking of other glass artists in the area for the purpose of sharing ideas and materials. Often an arist needs just that right little piece of glass, and just as often, somebody else has it available.
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Updated 1/4/112013