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Bribie Glass Artist – Kym Braithwaite

Pictures and story by Alistair Gray

Kym Brathwaite’s “Gliding Nomad” was crafted with thousands of tiny pieces of glass.

It was an absolute delight to spend a couple of hours with Bribie Glass Artist, Kym Brathwaite. Her work is so vibrant, colourful, and spiritual. The intricacy of her work just takes your breath away. So many hours devoted to creating each piece. The perfect blend of colours, the detail and the incredible patience involved in making her masterpieces leaves you in awe of this ancient artform.

For example, the Pelican above, each piece is carefully cut, shaped, and individually glued into place, to create an illusion of feathers and water. Glass is a challenging medium to work with. You cannot add another colour, as in with paints. Individual coloured pieces of glass have to be cut and carefully placed, blending together to look soft and lifelike. Even the water feels wet and has a unique reflection as water does. The ‘Gliding Nomad’ was created over a period of 12 months.

Kym began her journey of working with glass in her early twenties whilst living on the mid-north coast of New South Wales, where she bought an old worker’s cottage which was perfect for leadlight doors and windows. Thus, beginning her passion into the wonderful world of glass. After creating leadlight panels, sidelights, lamps and mobiles, Kym accumulated a surplus of glass.

Upon moving to North Queensland, Kym met a lovely artist who crafted mosaics using pre-manufactured vitreous glass tiles. After completing a course using these types of glass tiles, Kym realised that she could incorporate her surplus supply of art glass into this newly learnt technique. Kym prefers to use art glass instead of tiles, which she found quite limiting in size, shape, and colour. None of these processes are new and are used by fellow artists all over the world, but Kym found it quite liberating and inspiring, further extending her artistic abilities to another level.

Living in a small coastal town, without access to the support an artist needs, forced Kym to start creating her own unique style. Kym’s mosaics are more dimensional, made with larger pieces and shapes to create more interest. Traditionally, most mosaic pieces are tiny, as seen in the Roman and Turkish examples. So, instead, Kym’s style was to go against the conventional trend.

Moving from North Queensland to the Scenic Rim allowed Kym to commence tutoring in mosaic at the Creative Glass Guild in Brisbane where she met other likeminded artists and became involved in MAANZ (Mosaic association of Australia and NZ). From here, Kym moved into glass fusing, which is the process of joining compatible pieces of glass together in a kiln, to fabricate plates, bowls, jewellery, wall hanging, inclusions for mosaics and other artistic creations.

About seven years ago, Kym moved to Bribie Island. As a glass fusing tutor at the Creative Glass Guild in Brisbane and her home studio on Bribie Island, Kym has been afforded the wonderful opportunity to share her love and passion for all things glass with others. She enjoys the challenge of teaching and loves to inspire others with the confidence to grow as an artist and find their own style.

Kym encourages her students to explore and extend their creative abilities, nurturing innovation free-thinking, with thought to the chosen project, the types of tesserae and the different method used.

Kym’s teaching style is very personal, where she balances the need to grow the students’ skills and at the same time keep it within their abilities to achieve. She wants her students to produce an art piece they can display and be proud of it. This personalised energy and approach make Kym very special and sought after.

She said, “There is nothing better than holding up a completed piece and feeling proud of what you have achieved, the colour, the light and the movement”. It is easy to see how Kym is inspired and energised by her art.

When not in her studio, Kym enjoys gardening and dancing, including belly dancing, ballroom, and Latin. She loves the chance to perform, the fantasy involved and the ability to take herself outside the dull humdrum of life. She would love to sing in a choir, but as she says, most things on Bribie cater to the retirees, so happen through the day, she also wonders when she might fit it in. Kym, our Chief of Staff, manages the day to day of the paper and is much loved and a valued member of the Island and Surrounds Local News team.

Every second Saturday morning, Kym’s glass mosaic and fusing classes are in a large studio in Bongaree. For those wanting to know more, please email Kym Braithwaite at

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My name is Andrew Powell and I have had the honour of serving the wonderful people of the Glass House electorate since 2009. In its current form, the electorate includes Beerburrum and parts of Elimba

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