Oiva Toikka - Genius in Glass

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  • Finland’s oldest glass factory is located at the Nuutajärvi Glass Village, in the south of Finland. For over 200 years, glassblowing has been the central industry for this small community. It’s most famous resident is Oiva Toikka...he of the world reknowned Toikka glass Birds for Iittala, the Finnish design company.

    I made it over to Scandinavia in 2006. In search of all things on the holy grail of Scandinavian design, I had dreamt of collecting Toikka's Birds, and this was to be my first purchase. Oiva Toikka's glass birds were born in 1972, the year of my birth, so this journey felt somewhat predestined.

    A small golden, green-striped bird created for a Christmas exhibition mounted by the Nuutajärvi Museum in 1979 attracted the attention of a journalist at the family magazine, "Kotiliesi", which decided to offer it to its readers instead of a print as in previous years. The bird proved to be a great success. Since the inception of his glass bird creations, Oiva Toikka has created over 500 variations of glassblown birds including the annual bird release every year since 1996.

    Toikka glass birds are collected all around the world. Rarities are as eagerly tracked down and talked about as their real equivalents in the ornithological world. My small, but precious collection, sits on high in our living room, out of the reach of little hands, whilst their real equivalents fly by our windows their lungs full with the joys of song.

    Love, love, love. Sigh.

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    References: http://www.iittala.com/web/Iittalaweb.nsf/en/products_decorating_birds_by_toikka