The daughter of AE Gray from his second marriage. Joan was a designer and journalist prior to her marriage to Ronald Bailey, a senior British diplomat, whose career took them to many parts of the world. Joan Gray trained at Burslem School of Art, achieving success in craft and design in a number of disciplines.

Joan designed items in the buff-bodied wares of the mid-to-late 1930s such as wall pockets for flowers, single and double free-standing cornucopia and large circular wall plaques with relief moulded sailing ships