Rovena Tey is a science- inspired, creative paper artist who studied Molecular Biology at McMaster University in Canada. She fell into paper crafting by accident one day while trying to recycle a lab manual cover. Although she did eventually find that science job, creating chemistry cards and other novelties soon became a passion that later morphed into a full- time, creative business venture.
Rovena, welcome to Moonflower Art!
So Science + Math = Pun (and Fun, I would add.) How did this all begin?
My education background is in science and I also love maths!
When I went to school, it was during a time when professors used chalk and chalkboards and students had to write their notes with a pen on paper. And so I (even to this day) doodle all my notes and ideas in an actual notebook (the paper kind). In the beginning, my notebook probably had about six designs that would make interesting cards. I made these cards just for fun and tried selling them at a local craft show. People loved them!
After graduating university and eventually finding that science job, I continued jotting down my designs and ideas that only got wittier and “punnier” over time!
Have you always been very creative?
I have been creative ever since childhood. I can remember always having so much fun making things with my hands, whether it was doing arts and crafts, cross-stitching pictures or baking in the kitchen.
I also enjoy coming up with unique ideas to express my thoughts and finding innovative (different and atypical) solutions when it comes to problem-solving.
Creativity is still very much a part of my life to this day!
What is a “creative scientist"?
A creative scientist is what I call myself because I’m a creative person by nature and I’m immensely curious about the world. My education background is also in science.
My creations are all about expressing seemingly complicated science and maths concepts in a creative way using vibrant colours, humour, and thereby simplifying them and making it less scary, easier to understand and fun!
When you say that science is artistic by nature what do you mean by that?
Specifically, I think of chemistry when I realise how artistic science can be. The way that molecules are drawn with lines (for their bonds), shapes (like hexagons and pentagons), and dots (in Lewis structures or radicals). This makes each one of them tiny little pieces of art.
As I was so accustomed to drawing chemical structures by hand during my school days, I feel that I have a greater appreciation for art within a chemical structure and this is what planted the seed for the concept of The Chemist Tree.
When did you decide to combine your love for chemistry and language to create this wonderful business?
People who’d seen my earlier designs loved them so much and really encouraged me to keep going and grow it into a business. Eventually my collection of “punny” chemistry designs grew so much, I had to bring all these unique ideas to life with my creations and share it with the world through The Chemist Tree (at chemisttree.com). It offers fun science and math-themed designs on stationery (cards, notebooks, stickers) and home decor (tea towels, coasters, pillow covers).
Other than chemistry, what else inspires you?
I am inspired by the colours in art and nature, and other creative things that evoke my senses like looking at breathtaking scenery, eating a delicious cake or listening to an amazing song. I’m also fascinated with archeology and stories from the past that can help guide our future. I am most certainly also inspired by other creative people, their passions and their creations.
Have you ever created in any of the typical artistic mediums?
I screen-print tea towels with fabric paint, which I have for sale at chemisttree.com. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to play with clay and I made some pottery pieces (bowls, plates and mugs) for my kitchen.
You carry quite an extensive product line. From cards to notebooks to buttons and stickers. Are there any other items brewing in your creative imagination that you would like to make a reality?
Since having a go at making my own pottery, I’ve had some ideas on creating some fun and functional pieces that I’d love to share with the world. It might be a reality one day-- if only I had a bit more space and a kiln, of course!
Visit the chemisttree.com