July 17, 2020 // 9:20 AM

Transforming 2D Materials into 3D Art

Written by Rachel Hungerford

It takes a talented artist to make a painting look three-dimensional. Marie Diehl, Garden Spot Village resident since 2009, takes it one step further—she adds dimension to already detailed works of art. With simple tools of paper and glue, Marie makes animals, plants and architecture look vivid, textured and lifelike on the page.

Her process is complex and often meticulous. When she finds a picture she wants to use, she’ll make four or five identical prints on thin paper, to make for easy layering. Then, she’ll make patterns for different sections—for example, for a bird, she’ll cut where different sections of feathers overlap. Once she has the patterns cut out, she uses cuticle scissors to make tiny cuts on the edges, effectively “feathering” the paper.

Next, she spreads silicone glue on the back of the original copy and molds it so that it has some dimension. She does the same for the feathered sections and other features like branches and flowers, molding them with a metal tool to make them rounded. Then she puts all the pieces together on the background—which she usually paints herself based on the original image.

Finally, she places the finished work in a shadow box frame. Marie makes her own shadow box in the Garden Spot Village Wood Shop or adds wood to a bought frame.

She gets a lot of comments on the birds’ eyes—people often remark that they look like glass. But Marie only uses paper and clear nail polish to give the material a glossy finish.

A Lifetime of Art
Marie started creating art in her twenties. She learned the basics of oil painting from her father’s secretary, and after that Marie was hooked. She took all kinds of art classes in her hometown of Toronto, and discovered 3D decoupage after seeing a demonstration from a woman in Canada.

Over the course of her life, Marie has done painting, quilting, embroidery, purse-making and even cake decorating. “Anything that’s creative, I love to do,” she says. She likes taking the mundane and making it unique.

Before moving to Garden Spot, she decorated cakes in West Chester, Pennsylvania for weddings and celebrations. She was also the assistant culinary director at Granite Farms Estates in Media, Pennsylvania. Marie says she was in the food industry for 40 years.

Originally, Marie and her husband, Tom, hadn’t planned to move to Garden Spot. But in 2009, a friend told them about an open cottage. The couple decided to take the opportunity after learning they could convert the garage to a craft room. Marie enjoys reconnecting with her friends from Chester County who live here now.

“We love it here at Garden Spot,” she says. “It’s the best thing we ever did. For someone to retire here, it’s amazing.”

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