In Finland, Flights of Fancy

Glass birds designed by Oiva Toikka for Iittala have become a tradition for workplace anniversaries and collectors.

IITTALA, Finland — Ask any Finn if he owns an Iittala glass bird and the answer will probably be yes, followed by an anecdote about the landmark job anniversary for which the barn owl or bullfinch was bestowed with a pat on the back.People here started presenting the vibrantly hued glass birds, often to celebrate a workplace anniversary or other milestone, about a decade after the glass designer Oiva Toikka released his first bird for serial production, the Flycatcher, in 1972. They also capt...