Tag Archives: Iittala

Bird Lovers’ Weekend

By the Visitor Services Team 

Another year marks another Bird Lovers’ Weekend here at Museum of Glass (MOG). This past weekend, October 2 through 4, we celebrated our 12th Annual Bird Lovers’ Weekend in conjunction with the great Professor Oiva Toikka and Iittala. Each October, Finnish master glassmakers come to MOG for a weekend of exclusive bird-making in the Hot Shop. This year’s annual bird is the Steller’s Jay, which is pictured below:

The 2015 Museum of Glass annual Bird, the Steller's Jay.

This year, master glassmakers and students of Professor Toikka, Arto Lahtinen and Helena Welling, came to Tacoma and made a flock of birds over the weekend. In conjunction with the glassblowing, we had special guest birds here on Saturday, October 3, and Sunday, October 4.


Taima, the Seattle Seahawks live mascot, was here on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm. Taima is an 11-year-old augur hawk, and has been the Hawks mascot for six years. He was very calm during his visit and even took photos with visitors at the Museum! On Sunday, Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium brought some exotic birds to the Museum, including a Bald Eagle with a six-foot wingspan.


Professor Toikka’s iconic collection of birds first took flight back in 1972 with the creation of the small Flycatchers. Today, Iittala Birds by Toikka are enjoyed by collectors all over the world, serving as simple reminders of the poetry in everyday life. Professor Toikka has created over 400 different species of birds over the last 40 years.

Would you like a little sneak peek of next year’s annual bird? The decision is not set in stone, but the Pacific coastal Ruddy Duck is high on the list!


Till next time, bird lovers!

The 12th Bird: MOG and Iittala Team Up with the Seahawks for the 12th Annual Bird Lovers’ Weekend

By Bonnie Wright, Curator of Education and Community Engagement

It’s that time of yearBird Lovers’ Weekend is upon us! We welcome Finnish master glassblowers Arto Lahtinen and Helena Welling back to the Museum of Glass (MOG) Hot Shop to create glass birds designed by Professor Oiva Toikka all weekend long!


Finnish glassblower Arto Lahtinen in the Museum of Glass Hot Shop during the 2014 Bird Lovers’ Weekend.

A few surprises are in store this year. Read on for daily details of what to expect:

Thursday, October 1

  • 4 – 6 pm: Design your own bird! Pick your own colors and details, and Arto Lahtinen and Helena Welling will do all of the work! $450 Members/$500 General.

Friday, October 2

  • 10 am – 5 pm: Be a bird designer! Submit your bird designs all day Friday and Saturday. Two winning drawings (by one child and one adult) will be selected on Sunday by Lahtinen and Welling to be created in glass for the winners to take home.
  • 12 – 3 pm: Adriana Hess Audubon Center/Tacoma Nature Center will be here with a Fold the Flock origami activity.

Saturday, October 3

  • 10 am – 5 pm: Be a bird designer! Submit your drawings in time for selection on Sunday.
  • 10 am – 5 pm: Long-time Bird Lovers’ Weekend fan and new glassblowing student, Vienna Scheyer, will be an intern for the day in the Hot Shop alongside her idol, Arto Lahtinen! 
  • 10 am – 5 pm: The first flock of birds made on Friday by Lahtinen and Welling will be available in the MOG Store!
  • 11 am – 3 pm: Seattle Seahawks live mascot, Taima the augur hawk, will be in the Grand Hall! Send some positive vibes with her before the Seahawks game against the Detroit Lions on Monday!
  • 1 – 4 pm: Create your own wire bird sculpture and paint a bird feeder with artist Larry Calkins.
Seattle Seahawks live mascot, Taima the augur hawk.

Seattle Seahawks live mascot, Taima the augur hawk.

Sunday, October 4

  • 11 am – 1 pm: Enjoy the members’ brunch and have your bird(s) signed by the artists at 11:30 am.
  • 12 – 1 pm: Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium will have bird ambassadors on hand. Come meet them in the Grand Hall! 
  • 12 – 5 pm: The second flock of birds made on Saturday will be available for sale in the MOG Store.
  • 12 – 5 pm: It’s your second chance to design your own bird. YOU choose the details! $450 Members/$500 General.
  • 12 – 5 pm: Lahtinen and Welling will select the winners from the bird designer pool of drawings and create the winning designs—one for a child and one for an adult!
  • 2 – 3 pm: Find out how Iittala bird collectors got started, what fuels their passion, and how you can get started on your own collection during the collector question and answer session!
A Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium bird ambassador during the 2014 Bird Lovers' Weekend.

A Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium bird ambassador visited Museum of Glass during the 2014 Bird Lovers’ Weekend.

Ongoing, throughout the weekend

  • Birds by Toikka will be on display in the Grand Hall.
  • The 2015 Museum of Glass annual bird, the Steller’s Jay, will be available for sale in the Museum Store!
The 2015 Museum of Glass annual Bird, the Steller's Jay.

The 2015 Museum of Glass annual Bird, the Steller’s Jay.

Don’t miss out on all the new happenings this yearthere’s something for everyone! I’ll see you there!

Bonnie Wright is the Curator of Education and Community Engagement at Museum of Glass. A newcomer to the west coast, Bonnie can often be found exploring Tacoma, Seattle, and the region’s natural wonders.

Extreme MOG Makeover: Bohemian Boudoir Edition

By Katie Phelps, Museum of Glass Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator

Welcome to the Museum of Glass blog!

Working in the Curatorial department at Museum of Glass often feels like the museum version of an extreme makeover reality TV show. When we install exhibitions, we typically have 10 business days to completely transform our galleries to tell a new story through paint, lighting, objects and labels.

We joke that to visitors, it must seem like elves tiptoe in and convert the galleries overnight. If only! The reality is that changing an exhibition space, even a small one like the wall in our Grand Hall, takes planning.

Here’s what our Grand Hall wall looked like in December when it featured our exhibition An Experiment in Design Production: The Enduring Birds of Iittala:


On Monday, January 13 and Tuesday, January 14, while MOG was closed to the public, we installed Bohemian Boudoir, a display of Czechoslovakian perfume bottles from the 1920s and 1930s.

Our Exhibition Designer mocks up all of our exhibitions in Google Sketchup, so that we have a 3D scale model of what the exhibition space looks like. Here is a rough sketch of how this wall was transformed for Bohemian Boudoir:

exhibition mockup

Our goal was to make the space feel warm and romantic, accomplished by our burgundy and cream color scheme. The display cases are the same ones used in An Experiment in Design Production: The Enduring Birds of Iittala, but they have been repainted brown to resemble dressing tables.

The goal of all of this planning was a smooth installation. We only had 20 hours total, and a team of 2-3 people to accomplish this Extreme MOG Makeover. Now that we have unveiled the finished product, stop by to see our exhibition Bohemian Boudoir.

bohemian boudoir

Katie Phelps is the Curatorial Assistant/Visiting Artist Coordinator at Museum of Glass. She is an alumnus of Whitman College (BA) and University of Washington (MA). In her life outside of the Museum she is outside as much as possible, wearing skis as often as she does hiking boots.