Chaz Cole: BRYLO STUDIO
It all started with paper and iron: soft, thick, 100% cotton paper juxtaposed with heavy, 100-year-old cast iron. Together with hand-mixed ink and polymer plates, these materials are the foundation for modern letterpress.
The process of printing on these beautiful old presses enables me to work with my hands, away from a computer. As a creative who works primarily with design software, this is something that called to me.
Hi, I’m Chaz. I’m the owner and creative director of BRYLO, a local creative studio with a focus on modern and minimal aesthetics. I specialize in letterpress, a method of printing that uses antique presses to print with debossed, tactile impression. There are 3 facets to the studio: letterpress greeting cards (you can find them at Yore downtown), letterpress wedding invitations and graphic design.
I learned letterpress through curating in a working print museum during college. It’s the type of craft you need a mentor for and by volunteering at the museum I was able to print projects on the communal presses with guidance from student curators. Eventually I began to teach other students the “obsolete” craft in my free time too. The quirky antique tools and grounding textural qualities of letterpress totally swept me off my feet.
After graduating from Cal Poly, I left those presses. I explored the Western half of the US during a 2 ½ month long road trip, moved to Boulder, and worked at a marketing software company. I knew I wanted to start a letterpress studio someday, but I had no sort of timeline attached to the idea. I didn’t get serious about it until my honeymoon, when the traveling and time off work gave me space to think and dream freely.
Moving to Longmont was a way to make that dream a reality. Affordable rent enabled me to take the financial risk of starting my own business. Before moving here, the only 2 places I had been in town were Murdoch’s (for chicken feed) and The Pumphouse (for beer). Falling for Longmont was a lot like falling for letterpress: I was only casually interested at first, but quickly grew to LOVE it.
After living in Longmont for a year-and-a-half I’ve come to appreciate the amazing sense of community here. Longmont is the kind of place you imagine when you think of a small town: you run into people you know while biking around or while walking your dog and that sense of community is hard to find. I’m grateful to have discovered it in an age where selfie sticks and reality TV shows reign supreme. In the future I would love to see downtown Main Street and the Francis Street strip mall become better gathering spots in the community, the types of places you want to hang out at for a few hours. With a better balance of businesses, both spots could be more conducive to wandering and shopping which would encourage the sense of community to thrive. With interesting, carefully-curated shops and more independently-owned restaurant and cafes I think both areas could realize their potential.