After saving the vector in Illustrator, I got the help of my local Makerspace to upload the file to the laser cutting server. We removed some anchor points from the vector and sent it to the machine, which etched an outline of my drawing.
Laser cutting complete.
Next round: I played with the location of each leaf and added an organic outer contour. Here you see my AI file being processed by the PC that drives the laser cutter.
Jim from Sector67 Makerspace helps me pull out the negative shape after the machine has finished its work.
I was so surprised that almost all of the delicated leaves made it without breaking. This is 1/8"-thick plywood, which is pretty thin for such detail.
I found this beautiful (plastic, can you believe it?) ceiling tile at the hardware store and shot the cutouts with window light.
The view through my finished piece as I stare into the woods.