Made in Bali from hand-carved teak and mahogany and painted in meticulous detail, a new range of furnishings pays tribute to Indonesia’s animals, plants, and marine life.
Lionfish and leopards and gibbons—oh my! Indonesia’s exotic fauna and flora star in the debut decor collection by Mary Justice Thomasson, a Texas-born style maven who moved to Bali in 2004 following a 17-year career as a broadcast journalist and public relations exec in Hong Kong. But it’s her degree in
European and decorative arts—and memories of growing up with an antiques collector for a mother—that inform her current passion: developing an exquisite range of sustainable, hand-painted furniture and home accessories.
The initial lineup of tray tables and lazy Susans produced by her company, Mary Justice Designs, comes in five fabulous themes—Panthera, Certainly Simian, Flights of Fancy, Flora, and Deep Ocean—with intricate motifs created by local artists and craftsmen using the gesso technique of painting on wood, which emerged during the Italian Renaissance. “They celebrate the natural wonders of Indonesia, embodying the age of today’s explorers with elements of whimsy reflecting my personality and passion for decorative arts,” Thomasson says of the limited-edition teak and mahogany pieces, each of which takes up to three weeks to complete. “I only hope future owners treasure them as much as I do.”
But these are more than just multifunctional works of art. In keeping with the company’s conservation mission, which includes using only sustainable materials and certified forest timber, a percentage of its proceeds will go to the Indonesian chapter of the Wildlife Conservation Society, making every purchase a chance to help safeguard the archipelago’s endangered species (prices start at US$700).
This article originally appeared in the August/November 2020 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Strokes of Genius”).