In 1976, Joseph Avery Thrift was accepted to study at the Newark School of Violin Making at Newark on Trent, England.

After graduation, he returned to Winston Salem, North Carolina and founded Joseph A. Thrift Violins, where he specialized in making exceptional violins, and violas, using the highest-quality European wood, and making his own varnish and color.

In 2016, Joseph moved his workshop to Elkin, North Carolina, where he continues to build Fine Violins and Violas. He continues to expand his knowledge and craftsmanship through his longtime friendship with mentor Roger Hargrave. 

Joseph has memberships in the Violin Society of America, the Southern Violin Association, and has attended The Oberlin Violin Makers Workshop.

Joe currently teaches violin making at Surry Community College in Dobson, North Carolina, where he instructs students in hand making copies of the Italian Masters.