A world where messages come from the art

A world where messages come from the art

By Zoe Walker for the NZ Herald

Lisa Hamilton-Gibbs has found a way to convey feelings through her creations.



Lisa Hamilton-Gibbs founded her quirky local gift and stationery brand i candy, which features sweet illustrations and sayings on cards, decor block art, jewellery, wrapping paper and more, 12 years ago. “It is an extension of me in the sense that when I have an experience that touches me, it often goes straight on to a card or block. I find that really cathartic,” she explains. “Messages are all very real human emotions. Like being a mother, the loss of a loved one or the appreciation of a dear friend. I love being able to connect to and help people through my work.” She tells us more about some of her favourite things.

Lisa Hamilton-Gibbs. Photo / Babiche Martens


1. The world of Richard Stine

Richard Stine is an inspirational artist. This beautiful book is a collection of his own personal insights. They cover a wide range of subjects and are accompanied by wonderful illustrations. It is quirky, profound and insightful and takes you on a journey of the human soul. This was one of the initial inspirations behind the creation of i candy.

When I was 5 I took my first plane ride unaccompanied to Queenstown to stay with my grandparents. I just love this photo of my grandmother and me sipping a cup of tea in her bed and remember it clearly. Pommy is now 98 and we are very close. I look forward to seeing her letter from the Queen when she reaches 100.

3. Mother’s antique ring

I had always loved this rose gold ring with a moonstone that my mother bought in London when she did her OE. I finally received it on my 20th birthday after a lot of subtle hints. I lost it for three years after inadvertently misplacing it at a wedding (long story), so now never take it off for fear of losing it again.

4. Embroidered Peter Rabbit

When I first started i candy, I was on a sales trip to Wellington (which in those days involved a visit to stores with my shiny silver wooden box of handmade cards). I spied this gorgeous framed piece and, having always loved Peter Rabbit, just had to buy it for the child I one day might have. That was 12 years ago, and it now takes pride of place in my daughter Millie’s bedroom.

5. My secret piece of body art

When in Brazil in 2005 I made a spontaneous decision to get a small tattoo which means light, or energy. Accompanied by a best friend, our intrepid journey took us across five South American countries in three months; from pisco sours and paragliding in Chile to Carnival in Salvador. It was the most liberating, raw experience and my little piece of body art serves as a constant reminder of one of the best times of my life.

6. Owl and Pussycat necklace

This was a present from my fiance when we first started dating. Apparently it was the last one, bought off the assistant’s neck. Every time I wear it someone comments. I love its originality, detail and quirkiness.

7. Fiona Jack painting

Fiona had an exhibition before she left for Canada and my mum purchased this piece for my birthday. I love the abstract design, contrasts and muted tones. I knew Fiona growing up and this personal connection makes it even more special.

8. Langs Beach

Many of my best memories from childhood and beyond revolve around times at our Langs Beach family bach – rock pools, pohutukawas and piper nets. Ding Bay and the many faces of Sail Rock. That round dining table of ours could tell a thousand tales of fun times had. With our own exciting building project now under way close to Langs Beach, I look forward to bringing up our own children with the same wonderful memories.

9. Mt Ruapehu

Skiing is one of my favourite pastimes and the sight of that magnificent mountain, while driving along the Desert Rd, always lifts my spirits and gets the adrenaline flowing. One favourite memory is a weekend with a great friend some years ago. Up with the birds, we played nine holes on a very frosty Turangi Golf Course, then headed up Ruapehu for a great afternoon skiing when the clouds cleared.

10. Fahrenheit

My first experience of this aftershave was at a friend’s party when we were about 15. There was literally a line of people heading to the host’s father’s bathroom to try this fragrance, which seemed to be attracting us teenagers like bees to honey. I still go weak at the knees when I catch a whiff of Fahrenheit on some passer-by.