Mountain TEA Studios is a creative life partnership
between visual artists Mark Flowers and Kristy Higby.
Making and teaching art has been at the heart of our life’s work for 40 years.
Our studio work includes mixed media narrative paintings, sculptural artists’ books
and socially relevant documentaries and small metals.
We also offer a 3-room Airbnb apt. in our mountain top studio via Airbnb.
We met in 1973 at USC in Columbia, SC, where we were both working on a BFA degree.
Mark’s concentration was painting and mine was fibers.
We were married just before heading to graduate school at Western Michigan University in
Kalamazoo, Michigan, where Mark received an MFA degree. It was a time to go deep,
and the new environment was exciting, stimulating, productive and COLD!
Mark added an element of sculpture to his work, and I turned to felt making.
We were happy to be pulled back south for our first job; a team-teaching position in Fine Arts
at Sea Pines Academy (now HH Prep) on Hilton Head Island, SC.
Our home and first studio (the old Bluffton Tabernacle built in 1945) was in the small town of
Bluffton, SC, where we birthed two beautiful and endlessly entertaining Bluffton Boys.
After gaining valuable teaching experience at Sea Pines Academy, Mark took a teaching position
at the Savannah College of Art and Design and I began to work for the
SC Arts Commission’s Artists-in-the-Schools program.
At the same time, we continued to create and exhibit our work.
When the boys were school age we took another team-teaching position at Mercersburg Academy
in South Central Pennsylvania where we made a home for 23 years.
Mark continued to paint while I went in two new directions creating artists’ books and documentaries.
Teaching art was a natural path for us. Being immersed in creative problem-solving all day
was a surprising source of energy for 37 years. We are proud of the art spirits we helped
along the way. Many have become close friends over the years.
We are full-time studio artists now with some adjunct teaching (Mark) at USC Upstate.
We live and work in Asheville, NC, where we renovated a hand-made log cabin
and built our long-planned dream studio, Mountain TEA Studios.
Making art and teaching remain at the heart of our creative partnership.
‘After all, the goal is not making art; it’s living a life.’ Robert Henri
About • Mountain TEA Studios Creative Life Partnership: Asheville, NC