One of the many reasons for buying a craft object is because it has a particular relevance in the development of the artist’s work which makes it an important piece to own, and this is especially true for curators buying works for public collections. The ceramic pot ‘Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall’ by Grayson Perry, which is part of the Crafts Council collection, is a terrific example of an object capturing a moment in time.
Grayson Perry, who became a household name when he won the Turner Prize in 2003, is known for his auto-biographical collaged pottery and as his work has continued to develop his popularity has also grown through his Channel 4 programmes Who Are You?, In the Best Possible Taste and Grayson Perry’s Dream House and the Reith Lectures for the BBC.
‘Mad Kid’s Bedroom Wall’ 1996 was bought by the Crafts Council for their collection because it challenges the view that pottery is merely decorative or utilitarian and cannot express ideas.
Using intricately complicated glazing, photo-transfer techniques and designs marked into the clay this classically shaped pot takes us into the domestic world of the bedroom of an unhappy teenager, reflecting Perry’s own troubled childhood where he felt out of place as a creative spirit in a working class home. It features the final lines of his own ‘terrible poem’: ’I was a mad kid and now I ain’t. I got out ‘cos I could paint.’
As a teenager he also struggled with his attraction to transvestism, which became a key part of his identity and his work. He famously commented when winning the Turner Prize “I think the art world had more trouble coming to terms with me being a potter than my choice of frocks.”