SELECTING vintage oriental items that tell a story is Louisa Maybury’s passion. Her little shop in Woodstock is a treasure trove of brightly coloured, exquisitely made textiles, home accessories and jewellery from Asia and the Far East.

Vintage kilims jostle with hand-stitched kantha quilts, traditional Pakistani dresses and jackets, silk-covered chairs, ottomans and pouffes, irresistible ornaments such as splendidly gaudy wooden models of Indian lorries and even the flashy bunting that the drivers hang in their cabs.

And it is clear that what Louisa sells in her shop, Maybury, in Woodstock Market Square, reflects her personal tastes too, because upstairs her flat is crammed with authentic vintage Eastern pieces and memorabilia. And, as she is half-Pakistani, it is part of her personal heritage.

“I surround myself with the things I love, items that spark my passion, make me excited,” said Louisa, who opened her shop four years ago.

It was the job she took after graduating as a teacher 40 years ago that set her on the road to a long interest in all things Oriental.

“I was born and brought up in Chester, did a foundation degree in art and design, and then came to Oxford to train as a teacher.

“There was a shortage of teaching roles, so I took a job with Oasis — which consisted of one shop and a wholesale division back in 1973 —and I started selling kilims for them. I have now come full circle – selling kilims in my shop.”

Witney Gazette:

A spectacular necklace reflecting Louisa’s interest in jewellery

In 1977, Oasis asked Louisa to go to India to oversee the production of block-printed fabrics in Jaipur.

She was only supposed to be there six months but in the end spent a year in Jaipur and another in Delhi, sourcing, buying, developing and working with the design team.

Back in the UK, Oasis underwent massive expansion, opening 36 stores. Louisa became the jewellery buyer, travelling all over the Far East in pursuit of ornate pieces.

“I particularly enjoyed sourcing hand-crafted items in Thailand, India and the Philippines,” she added. “It was more daunting in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, where everything was manufactured on a large scale. Oasis was a small company in those days, and I would travel on my own - it was a matter of starting from scratch and just getting out there.”

In 1990, Louisa and her now ex-husband started their own business designing and making jewellery. They supplied a range of high street stores and also created exclusive statement pieces for top-end retailers such as Liberty of London and Nordstrom in the US. Their jewellery appeared on the catwalks at London and Paris Fashion Weeks too.

They then moved into selling larger pieces of furniture from the Far East, as well as luxury Mother of Pearl tiles from the Philippines – which Louisa still sells through her other business Maybury Home.

Her knowledge and enthusiasm is key to her selling style.

“My customers enjoy hearing the stories behind the items I sell,” she said. “Textiles, kilims and rugs from Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Morocco and Turkey bring individual style and colour to a home. There is so much shabby chic and ‘hardly there’ in today’s interiors and it leaves me cold.

“I’m not suggesting everyone should go crazy and have everything patterned and colourful, but there is certainly room to add bright shades and stop all this blandness.

“I mainly sell vintage, village and tribal pieces which are unique – these textiles make fabulous wall and floor coverings, throws and bedspreads. And they are works of art but affordable – rugs start at about £175 and go up to around £900.”

Witney Gazette:

Models of decorated lorries seen on the roads of India and Pakistan

Louisa’s bijou ‘flat above the shop’ simply bursts with the bright colours, textures and heritage of India and the Far East and showcases the style of her shop.

The vast majority of her possessions have been bought on her travels.

She said: “I have a Georgian Cotswold chest I bought when my granny died, two art deco chairs from France, a Persian rug, textiles from North Vietnam, a baby’s cradle from Turkey. I love to mix it up and I encourage my customers to do the same.”

Pride of place goes to a beautiful Victorian apothecary chest, and she also loves religious artefacts. Mounted on the wall are ‘Santos’, primitive headless clay statues which are paraded at festivals in Mexico and the Spanish colonies. They would be dressed then topped with finely carved heads, which were carefully packed away afterwards.

“These are really old pieces, and they are much collected by the Americans,” said Louisa.

She also has tribal pieces from the Philippines — a huge shell plate called a fikum, which was worn on a chain around the hips by tribesmen.

“They were very small people so you can imagine these great big shells clanking around their middles,” laughed Louisa.

On a stand she has a distinctive tribal shell necklace from Papua New Guinea, and a lightning belt from the Philippines, made with handwoven cloth and cona shells.

When Louisa is not in her shop, she keeps busy, often going to London to visit daughters Rebecca, 24, and Jessica, 21, and she serves as a Woodstock town councillor.

She is an enthusiastic swimmer and, to mark her 60th birthday, she took part in a marathon swim around the Scilly Isles last September.

She said: “It was a fantastic challenge, but freezing cold, and I won’t be doing it again.”