Holly Fischer is an Assistant Professor of Art at Meredith College. She primarily specializes in sculpture and ceramics, but she has experience in other areas including drawing, painting, photography and women and gender studies. Fischer shared her educational experiences, creative inspirations and favorite hobbies with The Herald as part of a series highlighting Meredith’s professors.
Fischer received her undergraduate degree in studio art from Meredith in 1999. During her time as a Meredith student, Fischer was a member of the Honors Program, and she recalls the faculty at Meredith being “tremendously supportive in [her] growth and self-discovery.” She views the Art Department as a “very special place” that provides “the perfect balance of structure and freedom.” Fischer elaborates, “I had an especially close mentor/mentee relationship with Professor Lisa Pearce…I benefited so much from being on the frontline as she developed the sculpture program. I got the honor of being the first student to stone carve, weld and cast paper under her tutelage.”
Remembering a key moment that made her realize she wanted to pursue a career in art, Fischer states, “on the first day of sculpture class my sophomore year…Professor Lisa Pearce screened the film Camille Claudel, and I just knew.” Because of Camille Claudel’s tragic story and the limitations that were placed upon her due to her gender, Fischer says she “felt a calling to help shape and contribute to a contemporary movement of female sculptors.”
Fischer discovered her love of teaching while pursuing her master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin and had the opportunity to teach a 3-D Foundations course. Following graduate school and her teaching careers at the Savannah College of Art and Design and the School for the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, Fischer began teaching part-time at Meredith. She says, “Three years ago I was hired as a full-time assistant professor and the coordinator of the ceramic studio…I have to say, this is my dream job…particularly because I have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the students I work with.”
When asked what she enjoys most about teaching at Meredith, Fischer says, “Working with the students.” She hopes that her students gain “self-awareness, confidence, passion and the belief that they can make a difference through the way they conduct their lives” from her classes. Fischer explains, “I hope students leave my classes with a more resilient form of strength…understanding that failure is part of the learning experience and an opportunity for growth and deeper understanding.”
Fischer says that she uses life experiences as inspiration in her creative process, and she is inspired by art’s ability to “be a bridge between people” and “create that deep feeling of empathy and understanding.” What Fischer values most in her work is “the new life and meaning it absorbs through the interaction with and interpretation by others.”
Other than her artwork, Fischer enjoys caring for plants, and her collection has expanded into the ceramics studio at Meredith. She “especially love[s] succulents, orchids and carnivorous plants, and they inspire much of [her] artwork.” Fischer has been a yoga instructor for over 10 years, and she also values her close friends “and the intimate conversations [they] have over a glass of wine.”
By Molly Perry, Features Editor