Hello and welcome to “La Nostalgie” French Boutique.
I’m Gill, an artist and a lifelong collector of beautiful old things.
My wish was always to live a simple French country village life. Now that I can finally do that, I want to share my passion for all these wonderful old finds that evoke true nostalgia for a quieter place and a simpler time.
For me, these old treasures inspire an affection for the hand crafted, the unique, the gently worn, the precious and the pre-loved.
I have been collecting old stuff for four decades and have been “rescuing” and hand painting old “brown” furniture and decorative items for almost as long! Now, I want to share some of these special finds with you.
I grew up around textiles and needlework. My grandmother was a dressmaker, my great aunts embroidered, hooked rugs and made lace, my mother sewed, knitted and crocheted so I have a rich heritage there to draw on.
My creative projects have always featured a nod to the past and an eye for period detail.
I have been fortunate in the opportunities that have opened up for me: I have designed display signs, house plaques, greeting cards and menus; restored four old houses and an historic coaching inn and advised on many more period properties.
I have exhibited and sold paintings, prints, drawings and embroideries and taught these skills from my studio. I have had over a hundred house portraits commissioned both in the UK and in France and I’ve painted everything from castles to cafes!
For many years I was the official artist of two historical, listed buildings charities and a local heritage society. My CV includes prize winning retail display work and my extensive personal collection of vintage clothing and footwear led to me sourcing and supplying pieces to the wardrobe departments of various theatres; and to designing and advising on period appropriate costumes for the stage.
In 1980 I opened my first shop in a 14th century listed timber framed house in Shrewsbury, England, featuring vintage pieces and hand made items and an art gallery with picture cleaning, framing and mounting services. Alongside framed photos, paintings, embroideries and limited edition prints, we sold locally sourced hand made clothes and toys, ceramics, and metalwork, along with my hand dyed and painted clothes and screen printed fabrics, hand crafted cushions, wall panels and evening bags, the latter made using recycled and vintage fabrics and trimmings.
This latest creative project, ChiqenAude Vintage, started a new journey in May 2016, based then at our UK cottage. Thank you to all those amazing buyers who supported us and “rehomed” our pre-loved and restyled treasures in our first 12 months of business!
After many years of plotting and planning, we finally moved to our old French home in 2017. So, here I am once more, spending real time doing something that I truly love; breathing new life into these beautiful old things.
ChiqenAude has now relaunched in the lovely Languedoc as “La Nostalgie”. We sell both original items and refinished and hand painted pieces, small furniture, decorative items, pictures and mirrors, plus my collection of cushions, runners ,throws and other decorative pieces made using beautiful old fabrics and trimmings and good quality new materials.
Every piece we sell now evokes that nostalgia and affection for a simple French country life.
I carefully clean and repair my finds; sometimes I refinish, restyle or recycle them. All are unique and evocative of times past and reflect my passions and my ethics in saving these old pieces to be appreciated and enjoyed by new owners.
Please check our photos ; and you are always welcome to visit us to view items before buying/collecting.
Some of my pieces can be sent out by regular post, but I prefer to deliver or arrange collection on our larger pieces as vintage items cannot be replaced like for like.
Please note* my items are all old so wear and tear, associated age marks and imperfections are inevitable. This is all part of their inherent charm and character.
I am so excited about this new adventure and I hope you decide to share it too.
Vive La Nostalgie!