In 1945, after the war, Tapio Wirkkala married the artist Rut Bryk. Their son Sami was born in 1948 and their daughter Maaria in 1954.

A glass design competition held by the Iittala glassworks in 1946 can be regarded as the event that set Tapio Wirkkala's career in motion. The first prize went jointly to him and Kaj Franck. Other important competitions won by Wirkkala at the time were the Bank of Finland's banknote competition in 1947 and the Tillander jewellery company's souvenir design competition in the following year.

Tapio Wirkkala began his career as a glass designer for Iittala after the glassworks' design competition. Good examples of his work from the period are the Kantarelli (Chanterelle)  vase and other engraved items of art glass.

 

1946-1950

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