I get that question alot at shows. So I recently added this to my display table. Great for the guys to read as they tag along (whoops I mean shop!) with their wives or girlfriends. ;-)
Here's the technical part via Wikipedia:
Polymer clays all contain a basis of PVC and one or more of several kinds of liquid plasticizer. Pigments may be added to the translucent base to create a variety of colors, along with small amounts of kaolin or white china clay or other opaquing agents where opacity is desired. Mica may be added to simulate pearlescent and metallic effects. Traditional polymer clay hardens by curing at temperatures created in a typical home oven, generally at 265 to 275 °F (129 to 135 °C), for 15 minutes per 1/4" (6 mm) of thickness, and does not shrink or change texture during the process.
The history of polymer clay as an art medium is only decades long, unlike many media that have been around for centuries and have long traditions. This newness means that there is a great deal of innovation by users of polymer clay. Often, ideas are born by borrowing from the traditions of some other materials, such as metalworking (mokume-gane), ceramics, glass (millefiori, lampwork), paper, etc. There also is extensive derivation inside the medium itself, as the attributes of this accessible medium lend themselves to sharing and copying.
Leading brands of polymer clay include Fimo; Sculpey, Premo and Studio by Sculpey, created by Polyform Products; Cernit; Formello; Modello; and Kato Polyclay. These can be found in most large chain craft stores, as well as online and smaller craft retailers.
Here's the subjective part- My two cents
Polymer clay is a wonderful and versatile medium to work in. I find it the perfect material for designing jewelry due to its lightweight properties, which in turn provides more comfort for the wearer. It is also very durable, and does not need to be removed when in water. (Of course any piece of jewelry should be treated with a little TLC.) I joke that I picked it up 3 years ago and have not put it down since. There is just something about polymer clay… I strongly suggest you try it! With a word of warning though: There just may be no turning back…
Recent works below highlighting my over 1 year long design obsessions:
Polymer clay, damask design and glorious Rhinestones
|Polymer Clay Earrings-|
Image Transfer Method
|Modern Poppy Polymer Clay Earrings|
-Lightweight yet durable
|Polymer Clay Love Pendant|
Adorned with Rhinestones