Knitting yarns about the stars above
You might say that Deane Mae Driscoll’s fascination with the stars was her father’s doing. He was a sailor. And he knew the night sky.
On a summer night when she was 8 years old, on July 4th to be exact, Driscoll and her father and brother sat on a sweltering New York rooftop waiting for the holiday fireworks to start.
As they watched the last remnants of daylight fade away and the dark sky blacken, explosive sounds, colors, and smoke blazed over the horizon. But it was only after the last sparks fell toward earth that the real show began. That’s when her dad pointed out the constellations then visible in the night sky. Raising his hand “like a magic wand,” Driscoll recalled, “he named the stars and old us their stories.”
Driscoll thought, if the heavens are organized, then I can learn this. I can study this forever.
And she has.
As a writer and astrologer, Driscoll has shared her knowledge and her insights with others for more than 33 years.
“The sky is always moving,” she said. “It’s a cosmic dance up there. I think of it as a ‘New Moon Ballroom.’”
Who’s to say whether or not the stars influence us? Each day there are new discoveries in the world of science, and new ideas popping up in creative and imaginative minds. It would be arrogant to think we have all the answers, when there is so much of the universe yet to discover.
“In his own way, my father was a real explorer, an astronaut of sorts,” Driscoll said. “The word ‘astronaut’ literally means ‘sailor among the stars,’ and I like to think of him in that way.”
Driscoll’s absorption with the heavens has motivated her to write and counsel clients, offering predictive tools, astrological insights, cartomancy revelations, and meditation guidance. Her website, ourcosmicdance.com, features her monthly newsletter and other articles filled with illuminating information on matters both spiritual and earthly.
While her dad led her to “journey among the stars,” Driscoll cites her grandmother as her first spiritual and creative guide.
“I spent summers with my grandmother in Brooklyn when school was out, while my mother – a nurse – was at work,” she said. “My grandmother was a healer, a psychic, and had also been a nurse. She thought I had psychic ability, too, that even as a young child, I just seemed to ‘know’ things.”
Driscoll said her grandmother would allow her the rare privilege of sitting quietly in the room during readings with clients.
“After a session, Gram would ask me what I thought about the things I’d heard, and she’d listen to my impressions,” Driscoll said. “At first I thought I was making up stories in my imagination, but Gram seemed to think I’d got it right.”
Driscoll’s grandmother also taught the little girl to knit, crochet and sew, nurturing skills that have given expression to Driscoll’s lifelong creativity and provided many opportunities to give back to the community.
Among the variety of items that she crafts are quilts, table runners, handbags, scarves, hats and shawls. She also designs and knits unique fingerless gloves and what she calls “mermaid sweaters,” cuddly, soft, one-size-fits-all hybrids between a shawl and a sweater.
Her products are on display, and sold, at The Old Depot, a nonprofit gallery, on Sutton Avenue in downtown Black Mountain.
In addition to being a crafter supplier at The Old Depot, Driscoll is a member of local sewing and knitting clubs that contribute their handmade items to benefit several area charities.
“My work for nonprofit groups started years ago when my grandmother and I knitted hats for the Seaman’s Church in Brooklyn, benefiting retired seamen,” she said.
Since moving to Black Mountain, Driscoll has been active in the “Stashbusters,” a local quilt group that makes projects for the community.
Other notable members of the group include longtime quilt teacher Sara Hill, and award-winning quilter Joyce Fong.
In past years the Stashbusters has made quilts for the Black Mountain Home for Children and most recently donated children’s quilts to the Black Mountain Fire and Police departments.
“Like many of us in Black Mountain, I was raised to give back, and I feel blessed to be able to contribute in both spiritual and practical ways,” she said. “It’s a chaotic world out there… I do what I can.”