Grayson Perry is probably one of the most interesting and controversial potters around today. He was born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1960, and his parents got a divorce when he was around five. Shortly thereafter, his mother got remarried to the milkman, who apparently was not a very nice guy.
Grayson knew he was a transvestite by the time he turned thirteen. (note: I say transvestite and not homosexual because he is in fact happily married to another woman.) He was found out around then by the rest of his family when his stepsister snooped in his diary and asked what "transvestism" meant. He ran away from home to live with his real father, however his father kicked him out of the house upon finding out about his son's cross-dressing. (Grayson Perry does not speak to his mother these days, and his current work is full of references and allusions to a traumatic childhood.) He studied the Fine Arts in Portsmouth, and moved to London in the 1980s where he hung around with the Neo-Naturists and started studying ceramics.
His first piece was an inscribed plate entitled "Kinky Sex," depicting a crucifixion. Most of the pieces made are built from coils, and from a distance look like traditional, ornate pieces of pottery one would expect to see on a mantle ... except upon further inspection one finds beautiful, and often disturbing or thought-provoking images. He also makes and embroiders dresses that look like something one would see on a doll, except they are embroidered with little monsters running around, fetuses, etc. Unlike many in the ceramic world, Grayson Perry actually uses his medium in the context of social commentary, and at nearly all times contrasts the traditional shapes of the pots he makes with the images superimposed on them. (See: "Mr. Shit Sex","Video Installation," "Discreetly Branded," and "Barbaric Splendour.")