Labor Intensive

They use different tools, but they have one thing in common: They love their work

Today, we hope these tools are at rest.

But tomorrow begins another day of labor.

Sometimes, work can be more than just a job. It can be an art form, a life mission.

Over the years, we have talked to local workers, crafters and artisans about their trades, and the tools they use. On Labor Day, we thought we’d share their life philosophies.

All photos by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post

Barber Jeffrey Pivaral

Razor blades used by Jeffrey Pivaral, barber and owner of Shear Kut I in Lake Worth.

Barber Jeffrey Pivaral of Lake Worth says it doesn’t even feel like work:

“It feels like I am just having fun every day. It feels great being your own boss. This is a business that is always steady. People always need a haircut. People always need to look good, or have an interview, have a wedding, or have a date. They are always trying to make themselves feel good and look good.

Shave soap and shaving brush, Jeffrey Pivaral.

Shave soap and shaving brush, Jeffrey Pivaral.

“You get to have a relationship with your customers. You get to know a lot about them. They tell you their life stories and their problems. You think you have problems, but when you hear other people, (you realize) you’re actually OK. Other people have it worse than you do. It is amazing how, when you enjoy something, it doesn’t feel like work. It kind of takes the stress away.”

Body painter Georgette Pressler

Body paint model Brittany Johns has 22 piercings and is adorned in corseted lacework on her back, with a chocolate satin ribbon.

Body painter Georgette Pressler of West Palm Beach sees the human body as the ultimate temporary canvas:

“People see nudity as a faux pas. Well, you have nude paintings in a gallery. You have nude sculptures. This is the body that God created. This is what you were born with. It is a perfect creation. All I’m doing is decorating, adorning it.

Georgette Pressler of Devious Body Art paints the pierced back of Brittany Johns.

Georgette Pressler of Devious Body Art paints the pierced back of Brittany Johns.

“Body painting goes back so, so far into history. It is one of the oldest forms of body adornment. There are examples of prehistoric man adorning himself with paint made from ground limestone. Native Americans used body adornment in rites of passage. All over the world, body adornment and body painting has been used. It is nothing new.

“The body is something beautiful, and I think painting it makes it more so.”

Carpenter Justus Muller

A caliper used by Justus Muller, a woodworker trained in Germany.

Carpenter Justus Muller used his hands to tell his story:

The late carpenter was the grandfather of Palm Beach Post photographer Bruce Bennett, who still owns his tools today. He lives in a house surrounded by his grandfather’s work — chairs and tables and cabinets, and the tools that made them. Muller began his trade as a boy, apprenticed to a master craftsman in Germany, and never stopped making things, even in retirement in Lake Worth.

A jar of nails, found in the toolbox of Justus Muller, a master woodworker trained in Germany. 

A jar of nails, found in the toolbox of Justus Muller, a master woodworker trained in Germany. 

“He expressed himself not in his words, but in the work of his hands,” his daughter, Margot, said. “Some people golf. Some people paint. He made a new piece of furniture every year. It was the art he knew how to create. It was his calling.”

Glass sculptor Annette Sheppard

Left: Cullet cubes used to melt glass. (Right) Color bars of solid bars of colored glass.

Glass sculptor Annette Sheppard on being an “evangelist” for her art:

“My boss one time called us glass evangelists. If we can get people to go home and look at the glass they are drinking out of differently, then we’ve succeeded. (Glass) is a material that everyone takes for granted. It is something that is around you every day, in windows, in drinking glasses. We like to show how it goes together and how it is made, which we think is pretty fantastic. We think it is one of the most entertaining art forms to watch.

A fin mold from glass sculptor Annette Sheppard. 

A fin mold from glass sculptor Annette Sheppard. 

“My job is fantastic. I share what I love with other people … I have fun almost all the time.”