Oiva Toikka’s first glass birds were born without any formal advanced planning in 1972 (pictured on the right is one of Toikka’s first glass birds, the Flycatcher). Art stepped more formally into the limelight when Nuutajärvi launched its ‘Art’ collection in 1975 and featured Toikka’s Sieppo and the more colorful and larger Kiikkuri birds.
The variations on the Sieppo theme and the Kiikkuri were only a prelude of what was to come. A small golden, green-striped bird created for a small 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. In 1981, Nuutajärvi launched four Toikka birds. The new birds quickly found a loyal following, and it was not long before Toikka’s birds became popular corporate gifts, and the number of these birds now easily outnumbers Nuutajärvi’s own bird collection. Iittala’s mail order service has offered its own special edition birds for a number of years, while the tradition of producing an annual bird was born at the time of the celebrations surrounding Nuutajärvi’s 200th anniversary in 1993. Oiva Toikka has designed these annual birds every year since 1996 when they were made into a collection of their own. The range was updated and named Birds by Toikka, and given a higher marketing profile.
Since the inception of his glass bird creations in the early 1970’s, Oiva Toikka has created over 500 variations of glassblown birds. Collecting Toikka glass birds has become an international activity, with rarities being as eagerly tracked down and talked about as their real equivalents in the ornithological world.
Source: Birds by Toikka Book by Päivi Jantunen (2008)
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