- BBC News World
Although the movie Banshees of Inisher (“The Spirits of the Island”) won none of the 9 Oscars handed out this Sunday, but the film starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson has drawn praise from critics and audiences alike.
… and revolutionized the life of an 83-year-old woman from the Irish county of Wicklow.
The film is set on a remote island off the west coast of Ireland in the 1920s and tells the story of two friends who fall out after one suddenly decides to end their relationship.
To create authentic knitwear for the period, Delia Barry studied photographs from 100 years ago.
As BBC journalist Paul Lawler notes, Barry’s knitted sweaters were highly praised and featured Vogue.
“It’s amazingI can’t understand all the fuss,” admitted the woman, whose favorite creation for the film was the red sweater worn by Colin Farrell.
“Back to the Beginning”
“I was proud when Colin Farrell’s jumper was finished. I was working with an old photograph from 1921. The photographs were black and white and very large so it was very difficult to understand,” Barry told the BBC.
“It was very difficult to see what kind of stitch it was, but I did this. Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning. I had to redo Brendan Gleeson from the armhole.”
Barry has been knitting for 70 years, but her first foray into film came after her husband Paddy died of pancreatic cancer.
A friend at a cancer support group introduced her to costume designer Aimar Ní Mholtomnoi, who later designed the costumes for “The Spirits of the Island”.
The dressmaker decided to donate a portion of her proceeds from the film to a cancer support group in Greystones, Ireland, where she lives, as a thank you for her husband’s support.
“My husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2009 and died 11 weeks later,” she recalls. “The team was supportive, visiting, and there was always someone to talk to.”
After finishing the sweaters, he was too old to wear them.. The task sometimes involves adding holes to clothes, which Barry admits he doesn’t like “especially when you’re so particular”.
Her knitting has been featured in newspapers and magazines around the world, including Vogue And Vanity FairBarry has his knitting needles firmly planted on the ground.
“I can’t believe there’s so much interest,” he said. “When you’ve been knitting all your life, it’s just sweaters“.
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