A couple of days ago the dog knocked this Flash glass engraving off a window sill and it shattered. It was a test piece and old friend cut from a handmade sheet of French flash glass that was an extravagance to buy at the time. Ruby colors in glass are made with either Selenium or Gold. This kind of exotic glass has a very thin layer of color "flashed" on top of a base of clear or other color. It's especially suited to engraving because the cuts can be done on the flash side- removing the thin layer to reveal the base in striking contrast.
In the mid '80s, this test piece was engraved using the traditional stone wheel method to "warm up" before making a duplicate to a broken pane from an old Civil War Museum in New England. Bordering some of the windows in the museum, there were 2 colors of engraved flash glass panels- cobalt blue on clear and ruby on clear- likely as a patriotic touch. Recall standing there in a musty room looking at the glass. In the stillness, sunlight cast red and blue on a worn wood floor, mixing like blood and water. In a slow whisper, it spoke only of unspeakable cost in lives and heartbreak.
Later, the test engraving didn't really lend itself to making anything from it, but was kept as a technical benchmark and also as connection to an indelible moment. Working with glass you get accustomed to loss on a very much smaller scale- often work disappearing suddenly in shards. If you don't- you switch to another medium. So, it's funny how such a small thing as throwing out the remains of an old test piece can wound so.
Photo of engraved ruby Flash glass duplicate ready for installation (below)