The story of Tangle is based on the journey Richard X. Zawitz and his quest to unify his myriad of life experiences into the creation of a four dimensional energy form.
Zawitz’s journey began with his studies in Asian philosophy and art in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with scholar, teacher, and mentor, Chan Wing Tsit. From Chan he learned about Chinese philosophy and was convinced to further his studies at the University of Hawaii.
While in Hawaii, Zawitz studied with Prithwish Neogy, a renowned scholar of Asian art and aesthetics. Neogy’s mentoring, along with the influence of philosopher Jacques Maritain, Sigfried Giedion, calligrapher Morita Shiryu, and the story of Enku the Buddhist monk, drove Zawitz to develop his own philosophical pluralism.
When graduating from the University of Hawaii, Zawitz used all of the knowledge acquired from his great mentors to complete a stone carving called First Twist. This piece of art can be seen as the beginnings of the twisty Tangle we have today.
Upon graduation, Zawitz’s curiosity and interest in a four dimensional energy form led him to the Far East and Kyoto, where he studied wood and stone carving in the ancient traditions. It was during his travels that he came across the Tibetan infinite knot, containing a pattern of interwoven lines with no beginning and no end that symbolizes infinite life and creation. It was this symbol that captivated and inspired him artistically and ultimately bore the creation of one of Richard’s major works: the Statue of Infinity. The statue is a magnificent, stainless steel sculpture, made of 20 sections of 8 inch diameter tubing that rise into a series of endless, twisted turns and curves.
In seeing people’s reaction to his statue, Zawitz realized he needed to create a smaller version of his sculpture that people could actually hold and experience directly. He quickly recognized people’s enchantment and attraction to the twistable energy and magical sensation found in the turning, curvy motion of the Tangles. Furthermore, the Tangles have an immense calming effect and stimulated the free flow of creativity when people manipulated and played with it, making the ways to engage and interact with Tangles infinite!
Each Tangle has 18 sections that can be detached or added onto or even shaped into different ways for storytelling, learning to distinguish colors, making into a puzzle and so much more. Tangle also comes as a therapy device, made of rubber with small, bumpy nodes on it that offer a great tactile sensation for those who are highly responsive to texture. With over 100 million units sold, the original Tangle has in fact evolved into more than just a toy. It is used as a teaching aid, a therapy device, fashion jewelry, museum art, electronics, and even Tangle furniture! So next time you pick up a Tangle, take time to notice the aesthetic qualities, unique design, and rich artistic history from which the Tangles came from, and you too will see the endless possibilities that Tangles can serve in you and your child’s life!