Meet the Team

Artisan Range

Artisan Range is the collective name for the team and covers everyone involved in the manufacturing side of our activities. Together we look to create concepts and designs that balance innovation, functional requirements and esthetic appeal. Incorporating contemporary, modern and traditional styles the team is dedicated to keeping the tradition of cabinet making alive.  Every item has been designed and handcrafted to create an imaginative unique piece of furniture exploring materials and forms unavailable to mass production.  Most furniture items are re-manufactured from 100% recycled or reclaimed materials.

The following are past and present members of the Total Reuse Family.

Martin Gamester

Martin was the founder of Total Reuse CIC. It was through his involvement in the West Lancashire Community Furniture Recycling Service that he first thought of total reuse.  The concept was simple: try to find an alternative use for everything we throw away.

A time served engineer by trade, he quickly moved into education and training spending almost  two decades with one of the UK’s largest national training organisations. The call of self employment came and he teamed up with Jeff Goldsmith and Alan Jarvis to form Aljema Business Solutions. Providing high quality, cost effective education, training and development opportunities to people like Jaguar Ford and Swiss Life, the group quickly expanded and Exsel was formed to work specifically with the voluntary sector. 

Based on the principle that there is someone out there looking for, or who could use, or needs the things we throw away, TotalReuse was established to try and fill the void between those who have it and those who want it.

Paul Bragger

Paul joined Total Reuse as the time served joiner and cabinet maker with the skills, knowledge and experience to create bespoke and commissioned pieces. Although it has only just been realised, Paul and Martin first met back in the 80’s when Paul left school and joined Tomorrows People Today where Martin was a painting and decorating instructor.

Having trained with W Carter’s & Sons of Rainford, Paul spent the first four years building houses and went self-employed in the mid 80’s. JJ’s Pine was launched producing one off pieces of furniture in pine and hardwood working on commissions and bespoke orders. Creations included Welsh Dressers, Plate Racks, Tables, Doll’s Houses and restoring antique furniture.

In the 90’s Paul moved down south taking a job offer in Bedford and for the next seven years worked for an Italian company whilst continuing to take commissions for bespoke furniture.  He returned to the North in 2003 back to the building trade until 2007 when he lost all his tools and equipment when his van was stolen.

The opportunity arose to become involved in Total Reuse and Paul quotes Confucius when he said “If you enjoy what you do, you will never work a day in your life” and that’s where he is today.

Tommy Coakley

Tommy is from a family of market traders and has spent several years scouring car boot sales and flea markets for collectibles to trade. Before joining the Army at the age of 18 he trained as a laboratory technician with ICI.  He then spent four years in the REME including postings at BAOR in Germany.  Returning to Liverpool in the 60’s he joined the family business during one of the most exciting periods in the City’s history i.e. Mersey beat.

In the early 70’s Tommy joined the ranks of the taxi drivers and continued until his retirement. Throughout his working life Tommy has had an interest in music, antiques and collectibles and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Total Reuse.

Phil Brimble

Phil has spent his whole working like in the upholstery trade and splits his time between his own work and recovering furniture for the team. He's also passing on his skills to volunteers and individuals on work experience.

Phil can recover almost anything, from Victorian Drop Arm Sofa's to modern day corner suits. Using textiles supplied by Panaz he has helped on projects such as The Belpaso Wine & Oil Company in Ormskirk and The Café on the Square at the University of Liverpool.

Whilst I'm sure he would love to be known as the Messi of the upholstery world its not the footballing genius he's named after.

Ian Rigby

Ian is a time served painter and decorator who completed his training with local firm Graeme’s Decorators and Wigan Technical College. Before joining TotalReuse he has spent time working in offices, retail and the conservation sector and had a brief career in acting and theatre.

TotalReuse offers Ian the opportunity to expand his painting skills by bringing new life to old pieces. Shabby Chic, customised paintwork, distressing are amongst his talents. So as not to be confused with the original Picasso his nickname is a bit different. The same could be said about Ian. 

Rob Baines

Rob originates from Liverpool and served his time as a joiner with Tysons before moving onto spells with Rush Brothers of Aintree and William Tomkinsons.  Whilst remaining within the trade Rob moved in to engineering with English Electric and then had he next 13 years with Electropac UK Limited.

A complete change of direction then took place when he joined The Snack Factory in Skelmersdale as a 'cook' overseeing the frying of the crisps. During his 13 years with the company he saw it change hands twice before being made redundant. He came to Exsel CIC on a 4 week placement and returned as a volunteer with Total Reuse.

Rachael Marsh

Rachael Marsh has studied Art and Design for several years and recently graduated from Manchester School of Art with a degree in Embroidery.

Rachael said: "I am passionate about old things, preserving objects with a history, the interior space and furnishings. I love upcycling objects and creating something fresh, new and exciting out of something old. Here at the Recycling Centre I am working alongside the others to learn new skills of how I can put my ideas into practice and create usable fun objects out of old pieces. I love the random things that can be found here and all with a bit of local history".