In a class she recently held at the Massapequa Public Library’s Bar Harbor branch, a local area art teacher put a fun and unusual little spin on a festive tradition that millions engage in each and every year — coloring Easter eggs.
Marguerite Snider has been a Massapequa resident with her husband for almost 40 years, raising and sending her six children out into the world during that time. Among her more well-known offspring are her son Matt, who has owned the Massapequa Gymnastics Academy since 1981, and her other son Daniel — better known as “Dee” Snider — who is the lead singer for classic heavy metal band Twisted Sister.
“I like to talk about my family with the people I teach,” she said. “They will likely end up knowing of one or two of them, and that makes the whole experience much more personal for them.”
However, Snider has carved out a unique niche for herself in the world as well; an art teacher for four decades who only retired last year, although she still gives private lessons. She noted that a love of art has been a hallmark of her life since she was a child.
“It’s like manna from heaven. I have abstract reasoning and creativity pours down on me, and I have nothing to do with it…I’m just the vessel,” she said. “It comes naturally to me…it just flows.”
The idea for Snider’s “secret” egg-dying technique originally came to her way back in 1965; however, in this instance, she said it was born out of necessity as opposed to just being yet another creative endeavor on her part.
“We were getting everything ready for Easter, and I was doing two or three things at a time, and after hard boiling the eggs for coloring, I just put them in the fridge and forget about them,” she said. “Then I woke up at two in the morning, and realized that I hadn’t colored the eggs! So I ran into the kitchen, saw that I had eggs but no egg dye, and I had to improvise…and it worked!”
Snider’s egg-dying technique is deceptively simple, yet ingeniously effective; involving tin foil, paper towels, and her secret ingredient — food dye originally intended for cake icing — she taught all the families in attendance at her lecture how to quickly and easily transform everyday hard-boiled eggs into miniature works of Easter art.
Every time she would show her new idea to friends, Snider said that they would all rave about it and share it with their friends. She soon incorporated her egg-dying method into her lectures. Eventually, she decided to submit her discovery to the popular magazine Woman’s Day, which featured the technique in their April 1994 issue.
“I called Woman’s Day and told them about my idea, and they thought it sounded very interesting,” she said. “So, I sent in pictures and a description, and the following year my idea was in the magazine. Then the next month people wrote in and said how much they loved my idea, and then I started hearing about it on the radio. It was very exciting for me.”
At Snider’s egg-coloring class, attendees merely had to bring their own eggs; she supplied the rest of the materials, and before long, everyone present was churning out beautiful Easter eggs. The process simply involves adding different colors of food dye to a paper towel, placing a moist hard-boiled egg in the center, and wrapping it securely for a few minutes with tin foil as the colors set; this can be done over and over, producing a variety of different colors and patterns.
Joyce Rencher is a frequent attendee of the events at the Massapequa library, and thinks that it offers many amazing programs — such as Snider’s art classes — that the community should take advantage of.
“I love this library…we pay for it with our taxes, and you’re foolish if you don’t make use of all the great courses that it offers,” she said. “I think this class is fabulous…it’s a different take on something we’ve always done — coloring our eggs — so why not learn something new?”
Lois Munch of Massapequa attended the egg-dying class with her 4-year-old granddaughter Madison; the two had great fun transforming everyday eggs together into wonderful little kaleidoscopes of color.
“We had a great time learning how to color Easter eggs, and the amazing color combinations you can come up with are really nice,” she said. “We’re going to have to do this ourselves when it’s time to color our own Easter eggs. It’s such a great idea that Marguerite has come up with.”
To Snider, sharing her love of art with people is incredibly rewarding; it’s something that makes life a wonderful journey of discovery each and every day, she said.
“I love people, I love what I do, and the things that I teach are really very simple once they’re explained,” she said. “Once people see it, they’re amazed when they discover that they can do it, too, and do it on their own.”