The Nuutajarvi glass village was founded in 1793 by Jacob Wilhelm de Pont and Harald Furnhjelm. The location was chosen for the its forest resources, as firing the glass required vast firewood. While many glass factories were popping up around this time, Nuutajarvi still stands out from the others. Why? Because up until its close in 2014, it was the oldest working glass factory in Finland.
Nuutajarvi merged with iittala in 1988, and it is where Oiva Toikka's glass birds were made for forty years. Though production has since moved to iittala's main factory in Finland, the birds are still handcrafted and mouth-blown by iittala's master glass blowers. Toikka's beloved Kastehelmi (Dewdrop) glass products were also produced at the traditional Nuutajarvi factory.
Oiva Toikka isn't the only famous Finnish designer with close ties to Nuutajarvi. Kaj Franck was the art director of Nuutajarvi glass village until 1973, and many of his designs also passed through the fiery furnaces. It was because of him that Nuutajarvi gained such an expertise in working with the colored glass, making those pieces a sought-after collector's item today.
The Nuutajarvi Glass Village is open year-round for visits, and can be found in Urjala municipality, along the Turku–Tampere highway. Glass blowing is still a huge part of the small community, and designers continue to create original works to keep the tradition alive. Visitors can still see the glass blowers working at the Nuutajarvi Glass School, find deals in the Nuutajarvi Glass Shop, or view the iconic works in the Nuutajarvi Glass Museum.