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The “sphericon” and “femisphere” are solid  shapes that were invented by J. Roberts, an English joiner,  many years ago. He noted then that “I kept thinking ‘its such a simple thing: surely someone else has already discovered it”. However not until  the late ‘90’s were they discovered to be new  shapes by mathematician Ian Stewart (who wrote about them in “Scientific American”, October 1999). Derived from two cones, they have  two edges that are on the surface of a sphere, but have only one single surface. Hence they are called “sphericon” when the cones have straight sides,  “femisphere” when the sides of the cone are more….feminine! They roll like perfect drunken spheres.

Similar classes of such wooden objects, that can all be turned on a lathe and made by twisting several different geometries, have more recently been fully explored by David Springett and described in his book “Woodturning Full Circle” (GMC Publications). They include “squircles” and “streptohedrons” (see “Woodturning” April/May 2004).

Aesthetically pleasing, curious, delightful to handle and fascinating to ponder, femispheres lend themselves to endless artistic and sculptural possibilities. See their evolution from solid femispheres to femisphere boxes and then to sculptural femispheres in the galleries here.