There is a balance in nature that intrigues Heidi Dyas-McBeth, who specializes in mosaic art. Working at The Mining & Rollo Jamison Museums has provided her the opportunity to become a tour guide in the old Bevans Lead Mine near Platteville. Exploring the mine has opened a new perspective for Dyas-McBeth’s mosaic art.
Miners in Grant County discovered fossils in these mines centuries ago as they tunneled under Southwest Wisconsin. Dyas-McBeth’s mine tours take you 60 feet below the surface to where the lead mines could be found in the 1840s. For Dyas-McBeth these tours evoke a sense of community, a sense of place and a sense of the past.
“I think one of the things that’s unique is that we’re still able to get a glimpse of the past. I want them to pick up on how important the mining in this area was to the formation of our community here,” said Dyas-McBeth
That community’s history is tied to a tether reaching as far back as 400 years. In the 1600s Native Americans were surface mining for galena and would melt that metal into medallions to trade. Galena is just one of the minerals that is creating a patchwork of water-colored art underground. Inspired by what she saw in the mine Dyas-McBeth is now incorporating some of those same minerals and the layering into her mosaics. The elements of her tour and her artwork are billions of years in the making.