Monthly Archives: January 2015

Starving artists….compensation for creators

Thank you,  Elizabeth Renzetti, for your column in yesterday’s Globe and Mail If the artists starve, we’ll all go hungry.  

In her usual intelligent, somewhat irreverent style, she asks, “Do we value the role of artists (and their handmaidens) enough to ensure that they can actually continue to create?  Or do we just want to be left with the American Idol winners, and the trust fund babies?”

She quotes the American journalist, Scott Timberg:  “We produce and export creativity around the world.  So why aren’t we lamenting the plight of its practitioners?”

CARFAC (Canadian Artists Representation) has produced buttons, t-shirts etc. which ask “has the artist been paid?”

All good questions for a time when many people think that if it’s on the internet, it should be free, and accessible….whether it’s music, or photography or visual art.  All good questions for a time when writers, musicians, dancers, actors and visual artists are scrambling to make a living…..and often not succeeding.



What is an astrolabe?

And where would you see the only one in existence?

Yes!  The wonderful  Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla.
(See March 21, 2014 post to read just how crazy I am for this museum.)

An astrolabe is a form of calendar.  This particular astrolabe was located in the Benedictine monastery, San Zeno, Verona, and ‘dates’ from about 1455.

It is wooden, four feet in diameter, and communicated feast days, astrological signs, moon phases and hours of daylight.  It is comprised of rotating wheels that were turned to mark the passage of time.

The museum points out that this astrolabe marks the transition between the Medieval Ages and the Renaissance.  The object, itself, is very medieval, while the astrological information included reflects the Renaissance.

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

The astrolabe was hung in a place in the monastery where the monks would see it several times a day.  It was, in effect, their calendar…..their daytimers.

I wonder if its conspicuous presence also reminded them of the passage of time?  the finite nature of earthly life? Although not as portable as our electronic devices, it is a whole lot more beautiful. If our calendars and daytimers were works of art, I wonder…..would we become more reflective?