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Auntie Oti searches India for domestic articles essential to the everyday life of this rich and multi-cultural society. Ordinary consumer items are often produced on a local level. This results in commodities that differ not only region to region, but also village to village. Many goods are made at home on a lone loom and each piece is personified by the individual hand of a skilled artisan. While no two lots are alike, each is beautiful in its unique way.
Among these products is khadi : fabric woven by hand from hand-spun yarn. Before the industrial revolution khadi was produced in India for centuries. The practice was revived by M.K. Gandhi in the 1920’s in his pursuit of rural self-reliance. Indians asserted their economic independence over Great Britain by spinning, weaving, and wearing their own cloth. The iconic image of Gandhi wearing a simple dhoti working patiently at his spinning wheel exemplifies the quiet beauty found in khadi textiles. Practiced today, this slow community based method defies the generic mass produced products consumed today.
Each piece can delight in its own singular way. Humble and practical items are often multi-purposed in their functions. A gent’s woolen shawl becomes an impromptu blanket. The utilitarian gamcha is a towel, a neck scarf, or a head wrap to keep the sun out. Unadorned simplicity and versatility is why they continue to endure in the pragmatic culture of India today. A seemingly infinite variety exists within a single category. Plain weave towels with their ever-changing borders, patterns, sizes and color combinations still serve the simple purpose of drying oneself after a bath or doing the dishes after dinner. Even mill woven and machine made goods differ according to the nuances of time, the availability of materials and the area where they are made. All are beautiful.
Shop Auntie Oti with the spirit of adventure. Discover treasures not available anywhere except in the dynamic marketplaces of India. In a world of chain stores and diminishing choices treat yourself to something that is uniquely yours.
ORDERING : If item is out of stock please allow 4-8 weeks for shipping. If your selection is not available, we can send you images of our current offering
SIZING : size 1 = small/medium; size 2 = medium/large or one size
PAYMENT : We accept cash, checks, and credit cards
RETURNS : Claims must be made within 5 days of receipt of goods. Contact us for return shipping instructions. Sale items are final sale and not returnable. Other items are returnable for merchandise credit only.
FABRIC CARE : For cotton we suggest a gentle soap and hanging to dry in the shade for best results. For woolens, hand wash and dry flat, or dry clean. All colors should be washed separately. Store items out of direct sunlight.
INDIGO CARE : All of our indigo products are dyed with natural indigo with the exception of our khaki denim which is dyed with chemical indigo. Indigo vats are living organisms that can be used for decades. To care for your indigo textiles and garments store them out of direct light; a closet with doors or a closed drawer are idea. If you find there is excess dye rubbing off on your hands or other clothing, wash once in hot water (cottons only; wash wools in cold). To lessen the “indigo smell” add some white vinegar to the water. Dry your item out of direct sunlight. All indigos do fade with repeated washings exactly like your favorite pair of jeans.
METAL CARE : Bronze, copper and brass oxidize naturally and may be cleaned at regular intervals. Traditional methods of cleaning these metals include rubbing with a mixture of abrasive (salt, sugar or baking soda) and an acidic liquid (lemon/ juice or tamarind paste). Commercial cleaners like Brasso are also available, but not recommended for any items used for food, as it is chemical based, and harmful if ingested.
We recommend polishing with polishing cloth or an old white t-shirt. You can also polish metal surfaces with a soft cloth and beeswax.
OVERVIEW OF METALS AND THEIR PROPERTIES :
BRONZE : Bronze is an alloy comprised of ~78% Copper and ~22% Tin, the most durable of the metals we offer. Because bronze ‘sings’ when struck by another object, Asian Indians refer to bronze as “Kansa” (having a sweet voice).
According to Ayurvedic medicine, after gold and silver, bronze is the next auspicious metal to be used with food because of its nutritive and hygienic values. Ancient scriptures describe bronze
as increasing the intellectual level of those who use it. Traditional Ayurvedic doctors use vessels of bronze for preparing medicines and claim that eating from vessels of bronze over time will cure or prevent gastric ailments, diabetes, and skin disorders. Food safe!
COPPER : Copper has natural antimicrobial & sanitizing properties and is a powerful anti-oxidant. Also known in natural medicine systems for its anti inflammatory properties (relieving joint pain and arthritis). Ancient civilizations exploited the antimicrobial properties of copper by utilizing copper vessels for purifying their drinking water; allowing water to remain in copper overnight or at least 6 hours for best effects.
Copper is food safe for water and non acidic foods.
BRASS : Brass is an alloy made of copper and zinc, also know as “the poor man’s gold”. Germicidal and antimicrobial properties of brass have been observed for centuries, and confirmed by scientific studies in the 20th c. Brass was frequently used for doorknobs and push plates in decades past, demonstrating its bactericidal efficacies. Brass cookware, once ubiquitous in India, was known to produce the most delicious tasting dishes.
Brass is food safe for non acidic foods.
IRON : Our Iron wares are made of an alloy of iron and steel. Iron vessels are used in the Indian kitchen for frying and stewing. Clean as you would a wok or cast iron cookware.