Flickr Widget

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Oiva Toikka

I started this blog September 6, 2010. Some of you have been readers since the beginning. Others have come on board later. From now through the end of the month, I'm going to be on a short blogging break. Not only am I in the middle of a big volunteer project, I'm also trying to help get the new store open, so I've decided share some of my favorite posts from the past four years. I'll throw in a few new photos for you longtime supporters who read the posts when they were first published.

(First posted 2/26/2011)

Lately I've developed a fascination for the glass birds designed by Oiva Toikka (1931- ). First produced by Iittala in 1973 at their Nuutajärvi factory, they fall a little outside the parameters most of us set for mid-century dates, but I still think they look gorgeous on a MCM shelf or table.

Toikka was trained in ceramics but has designed textiles for Marimekko and has worked as a stage and costume designer as well. Toikka has described his work by saying, ”Baroque is exactly the right word to describe my work – after all, one of the word’s original meanings is an irregular pearl."

The birds range in size from the tiny Puffballs that measure 2 3/4" x 2" and sell in the $100 range to the massive pieces that measure over a foot in length, like the Festive Pheasant that measures in at 9 3/4" x 15" and sells for well over $1000.

I saw one of the birds on eBay a couple of days ago at $5.99, but the price immediately soared to $152.50, which is still considered a low price. One of these days I'll find one tucked away at an antique mall or thrift store for $10, and I'll scoop it up. Hundreds of dollars is more than I'm willing to pay.

Green ibis, 6 1/2" x 8 1/4"

Barnacle goose, 8 1/2" x 14"

Bullfinch, 4 1/8" x 3"

Common male teal, 4" x 6 1/2"

Small loon, 9 1/2" x 6 1/2"

Eagle, 11" x 10 3/4"

Puffballs, 2 3/4" x 2"

My Toikka birds

Oiva Toikka with Festive Pheasant, 9 3/4" x 15"


  1. The birds are colorful and fun, but let's not forget Toikka's 'Flora' line of glassware designed in 1966 for Nuutajarvi (later produced by Arabia and Iittala) or the 'Kastehelmi' line from 1964. Good post!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Flora is a little too feminine and, well, floral for my taste. The dots of Kastehelmi suit me better. I actually prefer Wirkkala's glassware rugged and icy-looking.