The Finn Oiva Kalervo Toikka is one of the most important glass artists in Scandinavia. Born in Viipuri in 1931, having finished his studies at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki, he began his career as a ceramic designer at the Arabia porcelain factory, where he worked from 1956 to 1959. After a short intermezzo as a lecturer at the art academy, he moved to Nuutajärvi, where he worked for the local glass manufactory. Toikka designed glass sculptures such as Kurkkupurkki, (cucumber glass), the pressed glass tableware series Kastehelmi (1964) or the wonderfully colorful, Pop Art-inspired Lollipops (1969) for Finland's most traditional glass manufactory. The glasses and plates of the Kastehelmi series are still in production at Nuutajärvi (merged with Iittala in 1988) and are still among his most popular and commercially successful designs.

Toikka became famous especially for his ‚Birds by Toikka' glass bird series for Nuutajärvi. The series, which has grown to over 400 designs, includes specimens from the entire bird world: glass pigeons, ducks, owls, pheasants, tits and finches, to name but a few. Mouth-blown, each bird is unique.

The line began in 1972 with the small 'Sieppos', the flycatchers that were produced in various colors in the following years, depending on which color of glass was available at the time. The somewhat larger 'Kiikkuri' followed. In 1979, the ‚Kotiliesi' magazine offered for sale a colorful Toikka bird from the Christmas exhibition at the Nuutajärvi Museum, stoking up the success story of the birds as collectibles. The more popular the birds became, the more Toikka's ambitions grew to fully exploit his glassblowers' skills for his designs. From 1996 onwards, Toikka's charming birds were successfully marketed under the title 'Birds of Toikka', and from 1996 onwards Iittala started limited editions of New Year’s birds and New Year’s eggs.

Until his death in 2019, Oiva Toikka also worked as a textile designer and set designer and received several awards, including the Lunning Prize (1970), the Finlandia Medal (1980) and the Kaj Franck Design Prize (1992).

Objects by Oiva Toikka