Katie was the daughter of Jane (nee Morrison) and Norman MacDonald, both were weavers. It is Katie’s mother Jane who graces the black and white photo often used to depict a Harris Tweed weaver.
Katie was brought up in a world where many made their living, or subsidised it, through the production of Harris Tweed yet Katie followed her own path and it wasn’t until much later that she would carry on the family tradition.
Alasdair and Katie were married in 1960, it was after that the couple took a weaving course, Alasdair left ‘the fishing’ and turned to weaving full time, Katie also took up the profession, so returning to family tradition they both became full time weavers.
Later they opened the shop beside their home in Plockropool and began to welcome visitors from around the world giving weaving demonstrations to both bus parties and individuals passing by. As well as weaving Harris Tweed from the croft they also plied the wool with a twisting machine to make the yarn thicker suitable to use for knitting.
Katie was a very accomplished weaver, greatly admired and respected. She had a great eye for colour and patterns and her contribution to the industry was outstanding. Over the years thousands of visitors visited her shop and watched her demonstrations of weaving, to them she will remain the epitome of a Harris Weaver. Her gentle nature and friendly disposition made her a great ambassador for the industry.
Katie sadly passed away in January 2011.
Her daughter Catherine continues working in the industry she says “Sometimes it’s very hard to continue the work without the ones who brought you up to learn, love and live for it. However if you give up then you give up all that inspired them and yourself”
In a world of high-speed communications, stress and instant change, it’s good to know some things never change. And top quality Harris Tweed woven in the Outer Hebrides is quite definitely one of these!
Katie Campbell 1935 – 2011
Photo courtesy of Carol Ann Peacock
Alasdair (M`or) Campbell, like many of the crofters on Harris, was a herring fisherman, but when the fishing declined he took up weaving. Alasdair was Marion Campbell’s nephew and a very notable weaver in his own right, also like his Aunt Marion, he had an eye for design. Together Alasdair and his wife Katie provided weaving demonstrations to visitors and bus parties at the original shop in Plockropool. Visitors then had the opportunity to purchase tweed, Hebridean wool and woollen items.
Alasdair was weaving until the age of 71 but sadly died in November 1995.