When I was 10 years old I encountered an object on my mothers desk.  It was made out of multicolored stones that were seamed together and cut geometrically.  Natural blue stones, red stones, brown, white, green and yellow stones precisely spliced together into the most unusually perfect shape.  At 10 I didn’t know what a dodecahedron was.  My 10 year old self awed by this perfectly angular composite of stone, it was wonder personified, and I liked picking it up, turning it around in my palm marveling while wondering how was this made?  My future was calling me in a whisper.

20 years later I was fortunate to have many close encounters with Buckminster Fuller, a family friend and mega brained futurist and poet of geometry. His work represents the optimism of someone who could think on a global scale into the future, and who believed in “doing more with less” to serve humankind’s basic needs. From Bucky I learned that geometry like mathematics helped explain the vexing and intricately complex beauty that we interpret as our universe.

Listening to Bucky talk about the marvels of how the universe is constructed was dizzying and exhausting.  When I could understand two consecutive sentences he was espousing I felt like I had really comprehended something important, even if I didn’t know what it was.  I just didn’t have the mental muscle to understand Bucky, but I understood him at a fundamentally human level.

As my comprehensive brain developed I began incorporating the rudimentary threads of some of Bucky’s multi-dimensional concepts.  And as I evolved my cutting skills working more complex forms, double tetrahedrons, vector equilibrium, and penta-dodecahedrons, hendecagons, triacontakaitetragons, etc., I began to witness first hand why Bucky was so excited about the geometry of the basic building blocks of nature.  This of course includes the geometric structures found in crystallography.

About 45 years after my 10 year old self’s first encounter with the multi-colored stone dodecahedron, I saw this fascinating shape cut in quartz.  But this piece had multiple star patterns intricately notched into the transparent quartz. I marveled at the vexing design problem of mind-vectoring angles and precision that inhabited this form.  When I saw a photo image of the same form a few years later the exuberance of my inner child partnered with the experienced artisan of my present self to proclaim: “ok, I have to try and cut one of these myself”.

And thus began one of the most fascinating lessons in hard linear symmetry that my soft orbital brain has had the pleasure of figuring out.

A penta-dodecahedron is a 12 sided shape (dodecahedron) with twelve 5 sided stars forming the 12 faces.  In order to achieve the twelve 5 sided stars there are 120 notched faces cut on the edges of the dodecahedron.  When every one of the 132 individual faces come together with exact precision, the stars align…

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