by Deb Schroder
As we prepare for the beginning of a new academic year, I take inventory of our art supplies and start compiling lists of what needs to be ordered. From teaching and making art in the large art therapy classroom I became aware this summer, of the scarcity of the color black. Black markers are used up, black oil pastels are worn down to crumbs, black paint jars are empty and there aren’t any black crayons left.
I would be the last person to ever assign any kind of overarching positive or negative meaning to a color. I appreciate the warm black earth, the deep black sky, the sensuous appeal of black velvet fabric. But after witnessing students’ deep art processes and hearing their stories of painful exploration and tender healing, I think I know why we’re out of black.
It’s kind of intriguing evidence that whispers “We don’t need proof, but we have it – our students went deep inside, doing that important inner work that so often requires images of depth and darkness”.
I’m hopeful that I’ll need to order more of the other colors soon, as disconnections and broken places are transformed, and images require yellow and sky blue again.