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Ellicottville’s Mat Snyder is Using The Art of Stained Glass
By Sharon Turano
Freelance Writer

Ellicottville’s Mat Snyder is using the art of stained glass to enlighten people’s lives.
The work he began by watching his mom produce pieces for the Ellicottville Glass Shop can be seen as near as Balloons and as far away as Erie County Medical Center’s cancer recovery rooms.
“Light is energy,” he said, adding when the sun hits his stained glass pieces they “come alive,” producing a calming effect on people viewing the work.
Each of the pieces is not only different, but the way they look varies at different times of the day, depending on when the light hits them, he said. The sun is always in a different area, explained Snyder, who said he enjoys the variety stained glass offers.
“It’s very rewarding,” he said about the work, adding nothing is ever set in stone for the pieces he produces.
“I don’t like to do cookie-cutter stuff,” he said.
Instead, the head artist for Rustic Blues Galleries has restored church windows, done commissioned pieces like the one at Balloons and sells his wares at Ellicottville’s Stained Glass Shop.
The vibrant colors he can use in stained glass work are a favorite for him. Perhaps that is why the piece he likes the best that he has done is at Balloons. An 18 foot by 8 foot free-form drop ceiling he did there came out just the way it was envisioned, he said.
Snyder, who pursued work as a chef, decided against it, choosing, instead to carry on the work he learned from his mother.
He fears the art is dying, seeing a lot of pre-manufactured stained glass in stores that are not one-of-a-kind like the work he does.
“Art is a way of people expressing themselves,” said Snyder.
He hopes to pass the idea onto his son, who helps him pick colors for his work. After all, he said, that is a way to keep the art he loves alive.