Adam Christie was born and raised in Cunningsburgh, on the Shetland Isles. He was the eldest son in a family of farmer fishermen in the ancient Shetland tradition. As a young man he tried to balance work on the isolated farm with his creative and intellectual leanings. He wrote poetry and violin pieces, and his work was regularly published in The Shetland Times. At the age of thirty-two, following a severe depression, Christie was admitted to Sunnyside Royal Hospital in Montrose, where he remained until his death in 1950. Here, using only a chisel fashioned from a nail, Christie made numerous sculpted forms, mostly heads, which he carved from large stones he found in nearby fields. He also painted, made wood-relief pictures and fine violins, and continued to write fiddle music and poetry.