Parsley Pie Art Club was established in 2001.
It was an invaluable genius light bulb moment for Jenny Bent, a professional artist, dancer and photographic model!
Jenny had no degree, no real experience of working with children and no professional or formal business training.
Jenny simply had a vision, plus a bundle load of grit, passion & a pure a love of creativity & freedom of expression.
21 years later Parsley Pie is still a thriving business!
So how did it all come about?
Although Jenny spent three years studying art at college on a foundation course, she didn’t enjoy her time there when it came to the actual work!
“I had blast with my friends & got up to all sorts of bonkers shenanigans but I did not get on well with many of my tutors. I had several major bust ups with them on a regular basis! I would not play the game or do as i was told! My mind was so fully of ideas & energy & I had an intense need to get on with things in my own way & this caused conflict!”
READ MORE ABOUT JENNY’S TIME AT SCHOOL & COLLEGE HERE
Jenny set up Parsley Pie Art Club in 2001 because she firstly need to earn a more regular income as selling paintings and gaining decent commissions was proving to be very hit and miss at times and she had a large brood of animals to consider plus bills and food for herself!
Plus after talking to some of the parents she used to babysit for, Jenny soon got the feeling that there was a niche in the market.
“I decided then that this was my mission, to set something up that broke all the rules! That embraced our human nature to be creative where kids could be themselves & not be judged or told they are wrong or they can’t use their own ideas! I wanted to give children the opportunity to experience freedom & creativity in a studio environment, let them explore their imaginations & experiment with a variety of techniques & mediums & if they make a mess, it doesn’t matter! I also needed something that in years to come, when I stopped dancing would give me a decent income that I could grow & expand! Parsley Pie was the answer, I always knew it! But I wasn’t purely driven by money. Believe me there were times when i felt lie giving up, i was stressed, tired, felt I was going in circles, I felt stuck & skint! but i had mission & i had total belief in my mission! I had a vision, self belief & utter faith that it was right”
After fairly disastrous experiences in college Jenny wanted to create a place where kids could be kids! A place where kids regardless of class, ability, age, sex, ethnicity or background could all come together in small groups to create art in their own unique way, do their own individual thing & let rip and have fun!
A relaxed & inspiring environment where to learn and develop with no creative rules, boundaries or restrictions! Somewhere to really tap into their imaginations & let their ideas & creativity run wild without the risk of being told no, or thats wrong, or hurry up or thats not on the schedule today…..
“I love my job, it’s that simple! & I’m proud of what I have achieved & what i & my business stands for!
I love getting stuck in, getting messy! My nails are always yucky but I don’t care!
I love being an inspiration and guiding kid’s on a path that improves their self esteem! I love the flexibility of my job, the fact I’m not stuck in an office all day every day, the fact I get lots of time off! I love working with kids, it is a major part of the job which I have come to enjoy more and more over the years, especially now I am a mother myself, you have an even bigger and deeper empathy with them, you just want them to feel happy and confident! It’s a truly great experience to get to know children over time, see them grow and build their confidence and self esteem and just be happy! & with more & more of us spending more & more time using technology with our faces pressed to screen & our fingers laws on the buttons of our phones, tablets, games etc, its really good to get kids away from that sometimes to get back to basics & our human nature & let them make their mark & get messy & be truly creative!
I absolutely love it!”
WHY IS PARSLEY PIE CALLED PARSLEY PIE?
So, in 1997 I rescued a cat, I named him Parsley Pie!
Parsley because I love the colour green (at one point in my youth i had green hair! my forest hair, a multitude of shades of green!) & I love all things leafy & nature! I already had cats called Clover, Sorrel, Mistletoe & Fern so for him I chose Parsley and the Pie bit because he was black & white like a magpie!
Parsley was the greatest cat! More like a dog! He’d follow me around, we had a very special bond!
In 2012 he died, I was totally devastated. He was about 15 & I’d had him since he was a kitten.
He went deaf a few years before & then a few months before he died I realised one night that something was wrong. He was in the kitchen & bumping into things. He slowly went blind, in both eyes. He struggled but still ventured out into the garden as he knew the layout so well, but his health & happiness soon deteriorated & I made the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep. He died in my arms on 27th November 2012 & I still miss him deeply.
His name lives on! Yay!!
PARSLEY PIE ETHOS
Parsley Pie is all about FREEDOM!
Freedom of expression & freedom of choice!
Parsley Pie helps children to discover who they are & how to think for themselves!
Parsley Pie also helps children to feel special, capable, confident and of course happy!
Parsley Pie brings children together to do art! Regardless of age, gender, class, religion, background & ability! I mix them all up together in small friendly groups!
At Parsley Pie there is ~
NO time scales
& of course NO clean hands!
Children can work on their own individual projects in their own time in their own way.
The only rules we have at Parsley Pie are politeness and patience!!
Parsley Pie classes are based around positivity and fun!
Encouraging children to use their initiative and imaginations! Uniqueness, quirkiness and diversity are celebrated!!
Parsley Pie offers many different materials and projects to explore and choose from including ~ clay modelling, collage, painting, decorating boxes and plant pots, drawing, sculpture, decoupage, glass painting, card making, mask making, mosaic art and LOADS more!
Each group is limited to a maximum of 12, so children get plenty of individual support and guidance plus also the space and the peace to ponder, problem solve, relax, be truly themselves!
Jenny says “I really enjoy passing on my knowledge, life skills & passion!
I love what I do & I try my best to ensure that every class, workshop or party is a positive, fun, inspiring, interesting & helpful experience!”
“After about 3 or 4 years I could see that the business was doing really well, getting better year on year. It was then I decided that i was wasting a lot of money renting, so i took the plunge, borrowed some money off the bank & had studio built at the back of my house!
In the Summer of 2004 I moved from my rented studio in Hale village to my newly built home studio!
The kids who come to Parsley love enjoying the garden in the warmer sunnier weather & at the Autumn & Winter workshops I hold, we often build fires (I’m a secret Ray Mears lover!) & the kids can sit around while eating their lunch! its fab! it’s convenient, it was such a great move for many reasons!”
Then in 2020 right in the middle of the pandemic, i had super ace new studio built! Bigger, better & separate from the main house!
Parsley Pie is a professional business with a very strong brand, a very clear mission & an excellent long standing reputation!
In 2010 Jenny invested money with a PR company & had the Parsley Pie logo redesigned, along with her website & marketing material
“Even though I’d been running Parsley Pie for 8 or 9 years & it as going really well, I still felt as though the brand & business could evolve, be improved & made more slick!
After chatting with a good friend, who was a marketing expert, & having work done by the PR agency, I really started to see Parsley Pie as legitimate business, not just something i did that i loved & not just something i did to earn money. (Not that I didn’t see Parsley Pie as a legitimate business before, it just made everything stronger & have more clarity & direction!) Even though I’d always had professional way of running the art club & total belief & passion, now with this fresh outlook, new branding & invigorated attitude to professionalism & efficiency, Parsley Pie went from strength to strength & the number of kids I had coming each week increased even more!“
On average Jenny welcomes around 90 kids every week during the time & all the holiday workshops she runs get booked up!
She also runs children’s parties both at the studio & in people’s homes!
REVOLUTION & A VALID VOICE!
“So now i have over 21 years experience under my belt i feel I have a valid voice & I need to give Parsley Pie a valid voice!
I am ready to shout from the roof tops about the importance of creativity.
I have facts. I have valuable experience of working closely with kids, some for many years
Its time to take Parsley Pie to the next level & start a revolution!!
I AM THE BLACK SHEEP COVERED IN PAINT
I AM AN ART WARRIOR!
I SAY CREATIVITY HAS NO CURRICULUM!
SHOUT OUT TO THE WORLD!
“I’ve been doing this for so so long, I have so much experience & knowledge! & my passion is now not only about running my art club & giving the kids who come here a great opportunity to be truly creative & express themselves freely, I also feel i have responsibility to shout to the world about how vital freedom of expression, imagination & creativity are & that hands on, getting stuck in, getting messy & in touch with our wild & creative side must never be forgotten or undervalued!’
Creativity is set deep within our human nature! Creativity is vital, it’s part of who we are! We have been making our mark since the dawn of time! Cave painting, singing dancing, writing poetry & plays, painting, sculpture, writing, have all been a part of our human existence forever! It is in our nature to translate what is going on in our heads & into the outside world by way of paint, clay, music etc Its like therapy!! Anyone can do it ! There is no right or wrong! it’s personal, healthy & it can boost our self esteem!
We are all creative beings, it is in our human nature!
Technology is amazing! its connects people, it saves time, it gives us whole new worlds & information to explore! But, it can sap our energy, our time & our relationships, both with ourselves & with other people.
Its well known that spending too much time with our faces stuck to screens, with our attention constantly flitting about on different Apps, is not good for concentration, our sleep, our eye sight or our sense of life satisfaction.
It is very beneficial for kids (& adults) to spend time away from technology, get outdoors, into nature & socialise face to face. To get stuck into more hands on activities, sport, dance, art!
As I’ve got older I’ve realised just how important & beneficial it is for my mental health & well being & my physical health to be creative & not spend so much time on the computer or on my phone! & I really do try to practice what I preach!
THE TRUE VALUE OF ART
“The kids who come to Parsley Pie are not doing so to gain fame, fortune or glory. They are not coming it to get a certificate or a grade or pass an exam or win a competitions. They simply come because they love and value art & the enjoy the process of doing it. Pure self expression, art and creativity should be valued more & have more time invested in it, it’s in our blood, it’s human nature!
My classes encourage independent thinking & use of initiative. The kids come because they love the freedom, the chance to use their own ideas & do things in their own way. This is & the way this makes kids feel is the true value of art! Not money or grades! The children simply love & appreciate art & are passionate about being creative, something that many kids lose as they don’t have the time, space or opportunity to be creative in their own way. Many adults too, lose this too creative spark. How many times have you heard someone go, oh I can’t draw, I’m not creative! Well I believe everyone IS creative & can be creative! We can express our creative side in many ways, cooking, painting, gardening, interior design & creative lovely homes, dancing! We just have to feel free & be in the right environment!”
THAT SHOULD BE ENOUGH
“Art & creativity have many benefits to us as humans! It makes kids feel happy, it gives them a sense of pride, confidence & can help boost self esteem
It gives them a voice
It gives them the opportunity for self expression to be experimental
It gives them the chance to use their own ideas, use their initiative
It helps them to think for them selves, to problem solve & focus
Creativity is a great way of relaxing, “finding ourselves” & letting our thoughts, dreams & feelings out!
Creativity teaches them that its ok to make mistakes & teaches them how to learn from their mistakes
It helps them with dexterity & teaches them perseverance
Children deserve every opportunity to do art in & out of school
Creativity makes us feel ALIVE!
Free, happy, at peace
It can fill us with joy & passion
This is precious!!
That should be enough!
JUDGED & GRADED
How would you feel on a night out at your local pub, or a your weekly pilates class or you’re on a nice country walk or spending time with friends, like minded people doing something you enjoy & you discover you’re going to be graded??
Or while you were doing something for the pure pleasure? Trying to to relax, reconnect with yourself & think freely & have fun?? AND THEN BOOM! You were being dictated to, told what to think, being judged??
That’s i how i feel about the kids who come here!
For children Parsley Pie is one or two hours a week for them to kick back, to truly be themselves, to unwind, tap into their imaginations, do things their own way, without judgement, pressure or suppression!
Why would i feel it was fair right or reasonable to grade them? judge them?? tell them what to do???
well i don’t! I might say I love their creation, someone else might say its rubbish!
its subjective, its personal & will never take that away from the kids who come here!
100% I say NO NO NO to grading the kids, judging them or telling them to follow any sort of curriculum!!
We all need time to relax, ponder, tap into our own thoughts & ideas without pressure & be at peace with ourselves!
So many mainstream schools do not see art or the creative subjects as being a priority. They seems blind to the benefits. They seem to devalue art more as kids get older & its not seen as important. It’s always at the bottom of the pile when it comes to allocating time & funding.
There is the creative corner in reception classes but that all disappears when they go into year one.
I hear the same thing from my own child & from the kids who comet my classes ~
“We don’t do much art, it’s boring, we can’t do what we want to do, the brushes are rubbish, we never get to paint, its always a rush”
The amount of time & funding they allow for creativity diminishes by the second.
& when they do do any art its totally uncreative, with set amount of time to create, they are given set (& most of the time very limited) materials, the theme or subject is set, It’s all so prescribed & rigid with NO room for freedom of expression or individuality!!! ARGHHHHhhhhh!!!!!!!
Schools are failing kids in other ways too. The mainstream education system appears to be all about achieving good results, stats & scores rather than the teaching & nurturing them as distinctive original beings. They do not really look at the true individuality & welfare of each child. There is not the time or the resources. But so much time is wasted. So many kids spend hours trying to get enthusiastic or understand certain subjects & they never will. & these subjects will never really be of any real use tho them when they leave the education system & have to go out & be self sufficient & earn money & carve out a good & decent life for themselves.
Time in school could be much better spent!
Kids are able to regurgitate info but do they truly understand? From my experience, some children feel that there is not the time to help them sufficiently when they are struggling. Everything is jammed in, rushed & they feel unable to speak up as they will hold up the class.
I now many kids suffer with mental & physical issues as a result of pressure, feeling like they don’t fit in, feeling like they don’t understand – insomnia, depression, anxiety
So much more I could mention, but I will mention this quickly….
Computers & technology are taking a lot of jobs from people. There is much competition in the world today.
Companies want people who can think! Who have initiative! Have unique innovative ideas, & be great at communication.
So, kids need to learn how to think independently. They need to learn about who they are & feel confident & able within themselves. They need to learn people skills so they can give great customer service.
Businesses & companies don’t just want people to be drones, grey & brain dead who fall in line & do as they are told. They want fire! Dedication, passion & grit
Schools are not helping with this & they do not help kids learn how to think for themselves, they merely tell them what to think, & this is damaging, especially in the world today.
Are schools scared? Scared to change? Embrace diversity?
Schools seem stuck, with an educational system created long long ago!
Kids with wild imaginations & the ability to think for themselves are harder to control. But we are in a world where business need people to stand out, be innovative & have unique ideas!
The education system needs to evolve & fast!
We are born unique! With our own individual fires burning!
We must find our own way & NEVER ever let them go out!
Life is precious & precarious, we should follow our dreams!
I love social media, its a fantastic & free way to connect with people & share your story, experiences, business & passion!
You can connect with me on ~
I look forward to seeing you soon!