Jim Giberti is founder and creative director of The Imagination Company and now the developer of MagicStone. Together with his partner, Kristen Smith, they run Imagination Farm and studios, where they also raise Morgan horses and a lot of Labradors Retrievers.
Imagination Farm has been at the center of our world for pretty much our entire adult lives. It sits under the peak of Mount Olympus in the appropriately named hamlet of ’Lympus. Its 150 acres of pastures and forest are an amazing environment for creative development, which has also always been at the center of our world.
Over the years our small creative team has helped design and grow everything from ski resorts to Jurassic animatronics, from new technologies to historic communities. But without doubt, our most auspicious moment came a few years ago when we got a call from Glenn Bowman, owner of Vermont Soapstone.
VS is an iconic brand, making heirloom quality products from one of America’s oldest stone mills, built before Lincoln was President. And what started out as a relationship to grow their brand turned into something unexpectedly game changing and exceptionally cool.
One of the great things about what we do with a new relationship is the deep dive – the immersive, discovery period you spend learning everything you can in order to help develop an idea, a product or a story. In this case, it was getting up close and personal with all things soapstone, month after month, as we worked with Glenn.
One night while I was relaxing, working on ideas, I was pondering one of soapstone’s most valued properties – its unique thermal quality. Soapstone’s ability to absorb, retain and slowly release heat has made it a prized material for literally thousands of years.
(For a little context: I started my career as a musician/performer and then studio producer and like so many of my peers, I’ve always been a cannabis user and proponent.)
So here I was, unwinding late night with an old-school pipe burning perfectly good flower, creating ash and tar and then, as happens in the best creative moments: the wonder of serendipity. I asked myself the magic question: What if you could design an instrument that could harness soapstone’s unique thermal qualities…something that could be used and lit simply like a pipe but heated, not burned, and controlled like a vaporizer?
The next night, and every night after work for the next several months, I went downstairs to my workshop with the cases of soapstone blocks that Glenn kept supplying, I just kept experimenting. And then one very late night I got the first, perfect, clean, tasty hit.
Houston, we have convection.
Doing precision work in stone, especially soapstone, has challenges unlike virtually any other material. But after three years of engineering and prototyping, on the mountain and at the mill – and lots and lots of daily testing, we were ready to introduce the first MagicStone instrument – The Odyssey (named for both its epic journey and, before shaping, its likeness to Kubric’s monolith).
During the process we’ve built two new shops: one for precision cutting and machining at the mill and one for tooling and finishing at the farm. And now MagicStone has taken flight and become the new passion and center of our world.