Kirsty Stevens is a visual artist and designer living and working in Fife, Scotland. Whilst Stevens was studying Jewellery and Metal Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a lifelong condition affecting the brain and central nervous system. Determined to make something positive out of this negative diagnosis she began using her own MRI scans to create mesmerising patterns inspired by the harmful lesions on her brain.
In 2014 she founded her own surface pattern design label, ‘Charcot’, named after Jean Martin Charcot who first discovered MS in 1868. She has leased MS-inspired prints around the world, represented UNESCO City of Design Dundee at the first Design Week in Shenzhen, China, at the same time as being announced as the first Design Champion for Scotland’s Design Museum, V&A Dundee in 2017. Stevens has also worked closely with the MS Society over the years by sharing her story at public speaking events and as a Wellbeing Facilitator during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Throughout her extended lockdown during the pandemic, due to being immunocompromised, she fully lent into ‘crip time’ and embraced the slower pace and beauty of drawing. This led to a new creative practice within the visual arts, she now draws what she envisions is happening inside her body and what symptoms she can experience daily. This new slower and considered practice has enabled her to realise what she wants to show and say within her work, to raise awareness and open a dialogue about invisible illness, while she works through her own lived experience of Multiple Sclerosis.
Kirsty Stevens was part of the 2023 exhibition Life Lines, bringing together artists affected by the long-term impacts of COVID-19, opening up their creative practice on an online platform. See Kirsty’s work as part of Life Lines here.