- ____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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- TIME MARCHES ON . . .
- 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!
---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
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.
- Contact Info: