Kalen and Astrid Think Big in a Really Small Space
Don’t worry: The bathroom serves as studio #2.
Kalen (left) and Astrid in their workspace.
A lot of the designers who we come across work out of their homes, but few have embraced tight quarters as enthusiastically as Astrid Chastka and Kalen Kaminski, who dream-up and dye their line, Upstate, from a nook in the Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, apartment that Kalen shares with her boyfriend (Jeff Thrope, the man behind the blog Cold Splinters). Here, the twosome shows us what they’ve done with the place.
Kalen: I’m obsessed with feathers and crowns. It was just my friend’s thirtieth birthday, and we all went camping to the Delaware Water Gap. I made these big, pink headdresses. This is the one that I was like, “Oh god, nobody’s allowed to wear that.”
Astrid: One thing I love about Upstate is that we constantly make one-off pieces. Kalen made this. It’s a giant poncho. We’ll bring it to our tailor Gustavo, and the instructions are just, “Neckhole!”
Kalen: This Moroccan tile is really inspirational to us.
Astrid: Yeah, the geometry of it.
Kalen: There’s this children’s illustrator named Peter Parnall who writes these beautiful books. Jeff actually has all of his books, and I cut one of them up and made it into a little collage.
Kalen: Astrid made it!
Astrid: That’s Iceland. I used a CNC router. You basically draw a shape to scale in CAD, and it cuts it out exactly how you want. That’s how we make the shapes we use in the dyeing process.
Kalen: You know that store, Andrianna Shamaris in Soho? She’s this global traveler and has the most amazing stuff. That rug is from there.
Astrid: It’s so inspirational to see traditional dye techniques that we don’t know how to do—there are just amazing things people can do with shibori.