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DESIGNER: Oiva Toikka
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Q & A
I wish every Toikka bird collector could take a trip to the small glassworks and village in Finland where the birds are made. Visiting Nuutajärvi is taking a step back in time—a century or more—when goods were produced one at a time by skilled artisans. Here a dozen or so glassblowers work steadily around an ancient fiery oven, taking a mass of molten glass and employing magical skills to create amazing works of art.
Oiva Toikka has collaborated with Nuutajärvi’s master glassblowers for well over 30 years. That’s a long relationship but keep in mind that the glassworks, the oldest in Finland, has been in operation for over 200 years. It’s a national—perhaps international—treasure which will hopefully continue unchanged for another two centuries. To that end, Toikka has worked with iittala, the owner of the Nuutajärvi glassworks, to find new designs which will keep the glassblowers productive well into the future.
The first new series of art glass come from designer Giorgio Vigna, who was selected from the world’s most creative artist/designers. Birds by Vigna are unique and wonderful sleek glass sculptures which traverse reality and imagination. One is equally amazed by the artist’s creation and the artisans’ skill in bringing it to us.
Toikka birds and Vigna birds are very different. While the Toikka birds are usually complete when they leave the hot shop, the Birds by Vigna require multiple complex finishing steps. Toikka birds are often light, a body comprising only a thin bubble of glass. Vigna birds are weighty: thick, sometimes multiple layers of glass melded into one inspired form. Vigna birds are magical in a new way, a vision very different from Toikka’s but equally awe inspiring.