People who live in glass villages...something something
December 6, 2017 7:23 AM   Subscribe

Finland has long been home to a vibrant glass industry and renowned glass artistry. To take one example, there are the glass birds of Oiva Toikka. Watch a three-part interview about his art here : Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. The Nuutajärvi glass village was established in 1793, and remains a centre of Finnish glass artwork and production today. The glass company Iittala was founded in 1881 and is known for - among other work - Alvar Aalto 's designs. Aalto was also an architect of some note. You can watch the creation of an Aalto vase here. Iittala also holds a biennial international glassblowing competition, the Iittala Cup. Watch as glassblowing gets competitive, below the fold...

There are three categories in the Iittala Cup:

Lautanen: The competition for the widest plate.
Pallo: The competition for the biggest ball.
Lieriö: The competition for longest cylinder.

You can check out some videos of the competition below.



Iittala CUP 2008 - Lautanen

Iittala CUP 2008 - Pallo 1-2

Iittala CUP 2008 - Pallo 2-2

Iittala CUP 2008 - Lieriö

Iittala CUP 2010 - Lautanen

Iittala CUP 2010 - Pallo 1-2

Iittala CUP 2010 - Pallo 2-2

Iittala CUP 2010 - Lieriö

Iittala CUP 2012 - Lautanen

Iittala CUP 2012 - Pallo

Iittala CUP 2012 - Lieriö

Sometimes things don't work out:

2012 extras

But there are always winners! The awards ceremony:

Iittala CUP 2012 - Palkintojenjako
posted by mandolin conspiracy (8 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Got it got it got it need it got it...
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:30 AM on December 6

These are quite lovely but I'm a bit curious about this one. Is this a common design? I swear I've seen similar designs in Northern Ontario, mandolin conspiracy. It does vaguely remind me of Inuit art I guess but I don't think that's it. The accompanying text says "mouth blown glass owl is a symbol of wisdom and good fortune" so is that a bit of culture that Finns outside of Finland would have hung on to?
posted by Ashwagandha at 7:42 AM on December 6

Beautiful. Thanks!
posted by yoga at 9:50 AM on December 6

Also, today marks 100 years of Finnish Independence! Hyvää itsenäisyyspäivää!!! (one of my aunts is Finnish)
posted by nikoniko at 10:18 AM on December 6 [3 favorites]

Back in days before the US government got all shirty about health and safety, the A.C. Gilbert Company sold young hobbiests home glass blowing kits.

Something to do with college students having to make their own glassware. After walking up hill through the snow to school.

(Not as much fun as their home Atomic Energy Lab, but, you know- you take what you can get.)
posted by BWA at 11:55 AM on December 6 [1 favorite]

The accompanying text says "mouth blown glass owl is a symbol of wisdom and good fortune" so is that a bit of culture that Finns outside of Finland would have hung on to?

All I know is that every Finnish household in northern Ontario I've ever been in has some Iittala glass somewhere. My grandmother definitely had a couple of Toikka's pieces, as well as a complement of glassware for special occasions.

Anecdotally speaking, I think it's just very popular in the Finn diaspora owing to people taking pride in craftsmanship linked to their heritage. My grandfather was the same way about his Rapalas.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 12:31 PM on December 6 [2 favorites]

Okay I don't know what's with the sudden flurry of posts about Finland, but I like it!

And I'm not even Finnish!
posted by elsietheeel at 1:56 PM on December 6

Here are some people from Dale Chihuly's studio blowing glass in the Iittala factory - using a skyjack to get some height.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 3:02 PM on December 6 [1 favorite]

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