Mari was born in Matsue, Japan and arrived in Australia in 1979. After completing studies in painting and gold & silversmithing at RMIT University, she opened Gallery Funaki in 1995 to promote national and international contemporary jewellery. As well as directing Gallery Funaki, Mari was an internationally lauded contemporary jeweller and object maker.
Mari’s work expressed how she saw the world around her. She worked very intuitively, using mild steel and gold to make brooches, bracelets, rings and objects, each piece imbued with a sense mystery and surprise. Her work started with a sketch, then the details of the form were developed through the making process. She was particularly interested in the interplay between negative and positive volume and spaces, the juxtaposition between inside and outside.