I can usually follow a written technique fairly well, but I always prefer tutorials/lessons with lots of clear photographs. If the photos are good enough, you sometimes don't even have to read the instructions! (Not that I'd recommend that, of course. You never know when the author might place a crucial bit of information or a time-saving hint in amongst the directions.)
So if photos are great, then moving pictures must be even better, right? ;o)
For those who prefer to see a technique demonstrated from start to finish, but who don't have access to a polymer clay class, there are instructional videos and DVDs available. Many can be easily ordered on-line. Now, they're not cheap, but if you learn best by seeing the process in real time and hearing instructions, rather than reading them, a DVD might be worth the money.
Before you place an order, you might want to check the following places:
First, see if your local library system has any instructional videos or DVDs. If not, ask your librarian about interlibrary loans. You may be able to request DVDs from other libraries-- sometimes for a a small fee, sometimes for free. (In this case, it will be helpful if you know the titles of the videos or DVDs you want to borrow.)
Second, check to see if your area has a polymer clay guild. Most guilds charge an annual membership fee, but once you're a member, you'll have access to meetings with other polymer clay enthusiasts and a good source of information about opportunities to attend classes and participate in clay-related competitions and events. If the guild has a library of materials (you can ask before joining), you'll also be able to borrow these. (For example, here's a list of the Chicago Area Polymer Clay Guild's library contents and loan policies.)
Whether or not you're considering buying a video/DVD, there are a few clips available for free on-line. They're a good way to see if you're really interested in purchasing the DVD, and they provide some useful information in and off themselves. The ones I link to below are of a very decent length.
Here are a few available on MindStorm Production's website:
Assorted clay techniques:
Dotty McMillan makes pottery shard jewelry.
Donna Kato demonstrates marbled paper effect.
Donna Kato makes a flower cane.
Donna Kato creates a carved vessel.
Gwen Gibson creates a faux enamel pin.
Marie Segal demonstrates faux metal surface embellishments.
Marie Segal makes a sunflower cane.
Marie Segal creates a signature cane.
Lindly Haunani demonstrates her version of mokume gane.
Nan Roche demonstrates her loop-in-loop technique for necklaces.
Sue Heaser creates a gilded leaf pin.
Jody Bishel creates a butterfly pin.
Margene Crossan creates an embarrassed face.
Margene Crossan makes pants and a shirt for a boy.
Lavonne Hoivik sculpts a miniature crocus.
Sue Heaser makes a miniature vase and jug.
Sue Heaser makes a miniature raspberry meringue dessert.
Kris Richards sculpts a bear.
Kris Richards demonstrates how to decorate with stamps.
There are also four video clips available here: http://www.polymerclayexpress.com/video_clips.html
These clips include the following:
--Terry Lee Czechowski demonstrating how to make a pillow pin.
--Gwen Gibson demonstrating how to use texture sheets with clay and how to treat the resultant textured clay with paint.
--Gwen Gibson demonstrating how to make an ultra-thin sheet of translucent clay and how to silk screen onto clay.
--Mari O'Dell demonstrating stamping clay and back-filling the stamped image with tinted liquid clay.
There are also a few clay-related clips from the on-line tutorials taken from Judy Belcher's segments on Beads, Baubles and Jewels:
Striped Polymer Charm Bracelet with Memory Wire
Stamped Mokume Gane Pendant
Filigree Purse with Polymer Clay Leaf Canes
Finally, if you're interested in video tutorials, you'll want to do a search, every so often, through the on-line video sites, such as http://video.google.com/ and http://www.youtube.com/.
Searching for "polymer clay" on these sites, today, I came up with the following interesting clips:
Polymer Clay Babies, by Debbie Garrity
Sculpting a Pig, by Wvclaylady
Silkscreen on Polymer Clay, by Daphne Hill
Color Scales in Polymer Clay, by Maggie Maggio
Sculpting a Torso in Polymer Clay, by Megan
How to Use Face Push Molds, by Maureen Carlson
DragonflyLane, videos by Christie Wright
Sculpting a Hand, by Aidamaris Roman
So, there you have it-- enough free video clips to get anyone inspired to make something with clay! ;o)