Jess Martin

Sharp Things Inside


The object I responded to was odd yet familiar: a reused plastic container storing a gooey tactile substance with the warning ‘Sharp things inside’ written in fading texta on the outside. This object tells a story about spending creative time together during childhood. In responding to the object I thought about my own experience playing with homemade playdough when I was young. The tactile quality, memories of spending time with my mother, and how I’ve internalised positive and negative creative experiences. So I made playdough, reflected on my feelings about childhood and making, and explored the actions and emotions I associate with this memory. The result is this video, and a set of instructions for making playdough.

I invite the audience to make their own playdough and spend creative time with their community and family.


Playdough Recipe:

1 cup plain flour

1 cup water

½ cup salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 drops food colouring



Sieve flour and salt into a saucepan. Measure 1 cup of water and add 3 drops of food colouring. Add coloured water and vegetable oil to the saucepan and mix together. Heat on medium heat while stirring for 5 mins or until the playdough is not sticky. Place playdough on a bench to cool, then knead until the texture is even. Store in an airtight container, and have fun playing!


Not for sale.


Jess Martin is an interdisciplinary artist and poet with a focus on experimental performance, text and sculpture. Recently their work has been exploring storytelling and improvised poetry in galleries and within performance. Jess is interested in creating work which involves community participation and storytelling. Their work is informed by personal experience as an autistic non-binary artist. Having grown up regionally, their work evokes themes of memory, isolation, and landscape. They are the current writer in residence at The Mill in Adelaide.


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