Oiva Toikka was born in 1931 in Viipuri, Finland and studied at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki. He began his professional career at the Arabia ceramics factory in the 1950s, and moved on to Nuutajärvi Glass in 1963 where he worked as a designer. In addition to working in commercial glass and ceramics, he has created individual art pieces, has designed stage sets and costumes for theater, ballet and opera, and has worked with Marimekko designing textiles. Over the course of his distinguished career he has received numerous awards, including the Pro Finlandia Medal in 1980, the Kaj Frank Design Prize in 1992, the Finland Prize in 2000 and the Prince Eugen Medal in 2001. Toikka's best known work is his collection of glass birds, which Iittala began producing in 1972 with the Sieppo or Flycatcher. The broad scope of today's Bird Collection is a tribute to Toikka's unique senses of color, form and fun--since its inception the line has expanded to include hundreds of species, real and imagined, and features an Annual Bird, an Annual Egg and several Limited Edition birds.