Betsy Martin2This video is an inverview of Betsy Martin, taken in her workshop, on February 2, 2016. Please note, this link will take you to YouTube:

The photo, left, is of Betsy with a pile of amazonite, at Morefield mine.

The transcript is as follows:

[Betsy] So you’re kind of starting out. So you’re looking to see how this…I’ve been at it nearly 40 years. So what you see here is 40 years of stuff.

[Karen] I can’t even get my mind around 40 years of experience in this…

I didn’t get started until I was almost 50. I was late starting. I didn’t know squat. I mean, really.

The most wonderful thing he’s ever done here was to put a switch in that automatically shuts this light on and turns it off. so that when I’m carrying in my stuff myself, I don’t need to do that.

This is the Morefield research collection. This is how I store it. So that it…boxes that go to JMU for testing. And all that kind of thing. So, that’s 40 years of collecting, there.

This is all Andy Dietz’ stuff. For a while, Andy and I were in business with micromounts for a few years, so this is sort of some leftovers from that. Andy still brings his stuff here for us to look at, at Rock Rappers, which is very nice. This is my…

[Karen] Can I see inside one of your boxes? Because the format of the boxes is probably beneficial.

[Betsy] I know, it’s really interesting. Here’s a good example of how I…

Now, remember, if you don’t have information about a rock and it gets into your collection, it’s road gravel. You must keep records.

I’ll show you my first catalog, which worked fine for me. And then I’ll show you how it evolved into something else. This is what it looked like for Morefield.

When I box it up, each location has its own box. And I use these little boxes and mineral tack and stick all of my finds into these boxes. And it has on it when it was collected, where, and what’s in that box. And if it’s important it has color codes for everything. When I give this collection to somebody eventually, it will make sense, because there’s a catalog that’s attached to this whole collection.

[Karen] And would that most likely be JMU?

[Betsy] No. They don’t have any way to handle anything like this, physically.

[Karen] Detailed stuff, they have no…

I have to find somebody who’s willing to take up what I’ve been doing and

Karen Take it to the next level.

[Betsy] So, this has been a wonderful way for me to collect small minerals because they’re not out of control and when I pick them out on the microscope, I can just line them up there and I can show them to people and take them for research.

[Karen] I’ve actually been very interested in the concept of micromounts, because as we’ve collected through the years, we’ve held onto everything, not knowing what to do with them.

[Betsy] Ah, smart person. The thing about getting into micros is…we lived in a condo…a little tiny…I had 1 and a half square feet of space to do my rock hobby. What was I gonna do with big hunks of rock?

And plus, if you do micros, you never go home empty-handed. You always have something cool. If you collect only the big stuff, you’re either going to come home, empty-handed, miserable and complaining. Or you come home with a couple of lumps that you look at ‘em twice and that’s the end of that. But with micros, it’s endlessly stimulating and visually…I mean, it’s just never-ending. I’ve got all this information for you on that and I’ll show that. This is how I manage the unbelievable mass of stuff. And it’s much easier to do this as you go along and if you have a system when you start out.

I was very lucky to get this house.

For field trips, I just bag ‘em, they’re just bagged. What field trip they were on, where they came from.

Then they go in…these are Virginia.

Karen You made all those boxes.

Those are Xerox boxes. My husband made a template, so you could quickly them down like multiples.

What about these? Do you buy these?

Those, you actually can buy those. I have, that’s a…they come unassembled. But these are probably the best deal going. Mike, while he was working downtown used to bring them and distribute them to the club, but he just retired unfortunately.

Karen Fortunately! That’s awesome.

Betsy That’s why he’s up there working on the porch.

So this is my collection room, this is the rack. Over here, because people who come to Rock Rappers (a members-only event for The Richmond Gem & Mineral Society), rock people want to look at rocks. This is fundamental, wherever they are, whether at the meeting or here, anywhere, they want to look at rocks. So these are…Andy brings stuff that he lets people make bids on to buy. These are real inexpensive micros. They’re pretty much picked over now. But these are actually $0.25 apiece for these micros. See they’re all ready to go, and they have their names and the locations are on the bottom. See, there’s the location information. For $0.25 apiece you can start a micromount collection.

That’s crazy. And you picked all of these?

I selected and mounted these, for this particular purpose.

OK, so all of those.

This was a famous micromounter collection. It’s the leftovers from her collection.

Webber? What was her first name?

Oh, what was her first name?...

Karen] We can probably look it up.

Stuff for people to do. We have little silent auctions and little giveaways. I have boxes and boxes and eggcartons full of giveaways. You could sit here and pick out enough micros to keep you busy for the next 10 years for nothing. So that’s another thing about micros, is, that once you have the microscope, the hobby’s basically very inexpensive.

Karen] Which reminds me, what is your source for the little plastic boxes?

Betsy] I’m providing you with that.

Betsy] When you come to Rock Rappers, you’ll be like an old hand. You’ll know…

Karen] Oh, I have so much to ask, that I need to get some of it filtered out now.

Besty] We’ll get there. Let’s see…I’m doing maps for the Morefield mine. I’m an art teacher. My number capabilities are, you know…nothing. So I’ve have had to learn some surveying stuff to do this. Which, for me is very challenging. But, I’m the only one who does this kind of map. And on this map, will go where everything we’ve found comes from, the history of the mine. It’ll be a digital record and it will have every bit of the history and the mineral finds recorded on the map. There is no map like this in existence.

Karen] How far along are you—are you like 10% along or 70%?

Betsy] Well, I’m having to redo it because he just did a new survey. All my old maps are out the window. So I’m having to re-do it. I’ll show you an old one, that’s…the pen and ink and have all the details on them. Digital is the secret.  When you can do digital versions, you can play with it and do stuff. So that’s my goal, is to have this in, so it can be converted to digital.

I’d love to do one for the mine that’s done, you know, like a wall thing. And it looks old, and has some illustrations and stuff, so people can see what’s underground.

Can’t you just see 2 crossed pickaxes sitting on the corner of the map or something?

I know, right. This is 250 feet, this is another 250 feet. This thing is enormous. This is like football fields underground. And that one is almost as half as big, too. This is the 60 foot. The 35 is not even here yet. And he wants to open the 100 foot level. It’s an enormous mine. And you must go on a tour. Get yourself down there.

[Karen] I’ll do that relatively soon, actually.

[Betsy] Yes, you’ll need to do that, for sure. So, that’s that.

[Karen] What is this one right here? Just a certain angle?

[Betsy] Sam sends me all of the survey information and then I need to figure out what it is. I’ve got to figure out what spans are and what intervals are and all this stuff that’s basically just engineering. And I have to figure out and translate all of the information into this. ‘Cuz what I get from the surveyors is just that. And I have to figure out exactly where everything is and make sure that the levels line up with each other.  So that the 60’ and the 45’ line up and everything hooks together correctly. And that’s the challenge.

[Karen] How do you lay out certain components so that you can say what’s been found? Like, would you use 5 there and 6 there…

[Betsy] My cataloguing.

[Karen] Do you have increments between these?

[Betsy] I know where things I found them, because I kept records as I found them.

Sam was very good along the decades. He’d bring some stuff up and set it up for me to process so I knew where it came from. And he’d bring me up buckets, and I knew precisely where they came from. We know exactly where in the wall it came from. And that’s valuable information. The 1992 stuff, that Lance Kearns did, we know exactly where that came from. We know precisely in the wall where that came from. So that’s all information that goes in the archive. The division of Mines, Minerals and Resources in Charlottesville wants all this stuff that I’m doing as an archive. The state government has given them a mandate that they’re going to save information about Virginia mineral resources. And this is part of it. So they’re gonna take all of this stuff I’m producing, all the records that I’ve done, and, uh, they want it. Which is really nice, because I’d like to leave that somewhere where it will be…I’m having to learn how to archive.

[Karen] I’m going to go ahead and take a break.