Danville art class plans to color the city — with yarn

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com Cloe Shear crochets a hat during Shelly Stinnet's class at Danville High School.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Cloe Shear crochets a hat during Shelly Stinnet’s class at Danville High School.

In April, trees around Danville will be brightly decorated, wrapped in yarn as part of a project started by Danville High School students to create a more colorful city.

“It’s been really cool,” said Danville High School arts teacher Shelly Stinnett.

Stinnett thought up the project as part of a grant application for VSA Kentucky, a state organization dedicated to promoting arts, education and creative expression for all, emphasizing inclusion of those with disabilities.

“Anybody can participate in some way,” she said.

Prior to decorating the city with their colorful yarns, the students are learning to make smaller items such as hats, scarves and their own creations.

Stinnett has taught them how to knit and crochet, use looms, weave and finger- or arm-knit and crochet. First, she said, she had to learn to do those things herself.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com Delaney Sallee and art teacher Shelly Stinnett work on a loom project at the Danville High School, making a hat to donate.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Delaney Sallee and art teacher Shelly Stinnett work on a loom project at the Danville High School, making a hat to donate.

“I taught them all the skills, but first I had to teach myself,” she said. “The kids are doing awesome.”

Guest artist Michelle Amos has met with the students as part of the project. She brought along her table loom, showing them jewelry she had made and more.

“(The table loom) is something they couldn’t do without the grant,” Stinnett said. “It’s been a learning experience.”

She said it’s also been good for the students who may not always excel in art class in the traditional sense. Even the students who might not seem the type to enjoy crocheting or knitting have gotten into it.

“It’s crazy. It’s so quiet, everyone’s so focused,” Stinnett said.

Students admit it’s been a surprising experience.

“I’ve enjoyed it. It’s therapeutic,” said Delaney Sallee while she worked on a hat. “It’s relaxing.”

Sallee said she didn’t know how to do any of it before the class.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com Christian Hill, left, and Emily Thomas, right, work on their projects during Shelly Stinnett's art class.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Christian Hill, left, and Emily Thomas, right, work on their projects during Shelly Stinnett’s art class.

Christian Hill said he liked it, but was surprised at how long it took to complete a project.

“I didn’t know how long it would take,” he said.

Hill’s favorite was finger knitting.

Emily Thomas sat working on a circle loom made from paper in the back. While she said she liked painting more, she did like the yarn crafts more than she had expected to.

“It takes a lot of time, but all art does,” Thomas said.

The hats made by students are going to be donated to the Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center for the baby ward.

The scarves, blankets and other square-type items made by students will be used to wrap around trees in Danville from April 17 to 21. After they remain up for the weekend, they will be taken down and donated to various community groups, she said.

Stinnett is talking to assisted living facilities in Danville about working with residents to make additional items. She also plans to host community workshops at the Community Arts Center.

“It’s a collaborative effort,” Stinnett said.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com Damyan Young and Baily Coulter work on their projects in Shelly Stinnett's art class at Danville High School. Both were using a circle loom made out of a paper plate.

Kendra Peek/kendra.peek@amnews.com
Damyan Young and Baily Coulter work on their projects in Shelly Stinnett’s art class at Danville High School. Both were using a circle loom made out of a paper plate.

Students helped her make a Facebook event, “All Wrapped Up,” from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 21 at the high school, which will be a day to explain the project. She will have maps for attendees to see where in the city trees and other items have been wrapped. Locations of the wrapped trees will include the Community Arts Center, Constitution Square and Grace Café.

“I think this is a pretty cool project and Danville’s a pretty cool place,” she said. “This project is bringing us together, a variety of skill levels.”

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

SO YOU KNOW

For more information about this project, contact Shelly Stinnett at shelly.stinnett@danville.kyschools.us. Anyone wishing to donate to the project can drop their creations or yarn by Danville High School, but is asked to include their name and phone number with the donation.

Yarn parties will be held at the Community Arts Center at 6:30 p.m. on March 3 and March 7 for community members to create their own pieces to be included in the project.