image shows kirsty putting make up on

MS Create: designs from MRI scans

Designer Kirsty Stevens has made a career out of her creativity – and her business was inspired by her MS.

I work full time at my surface pattern design label, Charcot. Using the visible lesion shapes from my own MRI scans, I’ve turned a negative into a positive by using these shapes in designs for things like silk scarves and screen prints.

Making MS visible

The main drive for me is raising MS awareness. Since being diagnosed, I’ve learned that this condition is still so unknown and misunderstood by so many people.

This inspires me to make it visible in an innovative and creative way and bring it to audiences that wouldn’t necessarily have a connection to MS.

I also hope my work inspires fellow MSers and shows them that there are ways to ‘own’ your MS!

Gaining confidence

Having MS inspire my full-time creative practice gives me a sense of control over it. My work has also made me more confident in telling people I have MS. When I was first diagnosed I was ashamed to tell people - I didn’t want them to feel awkward.

Now I think: If I have to live with this for the rest of my life, I’m sure they’ll be OK for the few seconds it takes me to tell them about it. It's made me feel empowered.

If anything, MS has made me more creative and pushed me to do what truly makes me happy, as with MS you never know what’s going to happen next.

This is something I used to worry about but now, even though it sounds like a cliché, I live in the moment.

A creative force

There are lots of other people living with MS whose creative work inspires me. Hannah Laycock is a photographer who also uses her MS as inspiration for her work.

And Dawson Murray, who frequently uses the Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA) print studio that I also use. He took part in a great project at the DCA to test technology that enables people draw using their eyes, which I think is fantastic.

I would love to meet more people with MS that are creative in anyway, I think it would be really interesting to learn how other people access their creativity and we could build up a dynamic network of creative MSers!

Kirsty was diagnosed with MS in 2007. Since then she has turned this into a positive and uses it as her creative inspiration. She blogs at Follow how she redesigns MS on Twitter and Instagram @charcotstudio and @mskirstystevens.'