The best thing about travelling is discovering new things. While in Paris a few weeks ago I came across a magazine I hadn’t seen before called Raw Vision. I instantly bought it to read in the train back in Rotterdam because the pictures were so appealing and I’m glad I did. It’s a magazine about outsider (I highly admire self taught artists) and folk art and it had Madge Gill on the cover.
Madge Gill (1882-1961) is a well know outsider artist who made cushions, quilts, dresses and magically fascinating ink-drawings. She was born in East End of London as the daughter of an unmarried mother and an absent father. At the age of nine she was brought to an orphanage because her family couldn’t live with the embarrassment of a bastard child. She spent part of her teenage years in Canada working as a servant and babysitter. She returned to England at the age of 18, she had 3 sons and one stillborn daughter. Madge herself came close to death, and a subsequent lengthy illness resulted in the loss of her left eye, which was replaced with a glass one. From the 1930s on, Madge Gill enjoyed a reputation as a medium in her Upton Park neighbourhood. She is said to have organized séances at her home, drawing up horoscopes and offering spontaneous prophecies. Madge Gill’s works are now preserved in several public collections, including the Collection de l’Art brut in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Aracine Collection in Lille, France.