Collection by Clay Kessack

Oiva Toikka's Glass Birds at the Corning Museum of Glass

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The Corning Glass Museum recently hosted a special event in celebration of Finnish designer Oiva Toikka's famed Glass Birds collection for Iittala. Guest glassmakers Helena Welling and Juha Saarikko produced the aviary figurines on-site, with live glassblowing demonstrations at the Museum's Amphitheater Hot Shop. Below, we share a look at the intensive, hands-on process.

Located in Corning, New York, the Corning Museum of Glass focuses on the art, history, and science of glass, with a...
An assortment of figurines from Iittala's Birds by Toikka collection, designed by Oiva Toikka, on display at the...
The Birds by Toikka collection features five birds, each inspired by the architecture and landscape of a different city.
Glassmaker Helena Welling begins the process by blowing into the glass with a pipe to form the vessel.
Welling uses special tools to prepare the malleable form for molding.
The glass is shaped with a mold to the desired body shape.
Welling prepares to add the head of the bird to the body.
To form the bird's head, glassmaker Helena Welling then adds a drop of molten glass to its body.
Welling then applies extra heat to keep the form of the molten glass malleable.
Using an elongated rod, the glassmaker blows air into the vessel to further shape and complete the form of the head.
To make the tail, another drop of hot glass is added and cut.
Welling clamps the tail with a tool to finish it.
Molten glass is cut to form the peak of the bird.
The beak is heated and rounded off.
Welling carefully demounts the bird from the workstation and prepares to seal its base—the final step.
The bird is completed by closing and leveling the bottom.
A collection of finished birds designed by Toikka, from previous demonstrations.
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