Featured Maker | 5 minutes with Jo Thorpe

This month’s featured maker, Jo Thorpe, tells us a little about what inspires her beautiful laser cut geometric artworks.

What is it that you make, and how did you get started?

I am a costume pattern cutter by trade, freelancing for 25 Years in the entertainment industry. 

Originally from New Zealand, I now call Australia home, and work predominantly in the film, television and theatre world. I’m always inspired by the repetitive geometric patterns I see in everyday things, from water ripples to architectural finishes, textiles, engineering, even non repetitive patterns as simple as rock formations and wood grain. 

Laser cut lattice framework, plywood, Sydney

Through travelling, both for work and by choice, seeing the different applications of pattern use in different cultures also captivates me, from Asian wooden window screens, iron lacework on victorian terraces, moorish tiles, and Islamic decorative arts and calligraphy in all languages.

What are you working on at the moment?

A recent Costume contract of 6 months in Azerbaijan gave me the opportunity to learn more of the cultural history behind the tessellations used in the Islamic decorative arts which adorns the majority of facades and surfaces of their architecture, furniture, metalwork, textiles and pottery. To break down these tessellations and discover the prisms that form the basis of their geometric designs and embellishments was a really exciting process.

I have spent time since that costume project teaching myself vector drawing within illustrator (using The Laser Co’s guidelines) so i can create my own intricate tessellation based designs and have been developing a collection of patterns, and prototyping various applications to use them, from furniture pieces to wall hung sculptural pieces.

Do you have a tool that you can’t live without?

My trusted tools are simply pencil and paper for scribbling down ideas, then illustrator for drawing. And then of course, the wonderful team at The Laser Co to correct and guide me in relation to my files. 

Laser cut wall hanging, Sydney
Laser cut remnants in machine, plywood, Sydney

Where can we see more of your work?

My work is not yet out there in the public eye, I’ve been concentrating on developing designs and creating the files, paint colours and finishing options, framing ideas. But hopefully by the end of the year I will have a studio space in which to spread out and focus on producing pieces, taking my work public and taking on commission work.