by Maria Padilla-Morris
The spark to create figurines representing the Saudi Arabian culture was born out of frustration in not finding unique souvenirs of the Kingdom. My choices and baggage allowance were limited: Oil too greasy, sand too heavy, and gold too expensive. During a repat trip to the U.S, I discovered polymer clay and it became my passion. I worked at Aramco as a nursing supervisor/nurse educator but this clay ignited my hidden artist. These figurines were soon sold at craft shows in the Eastern Province and were showcased at Desert Designs. I expanded my artwork to include larger pieces such as the 3 Wise Kings on camels and participated in the Dhahran Fine Art show for several years. Several customers who took the figurines to their home countries reported using them as a tool to teach others about the beauty and hospitality of Saudi Arabia.
NEW TO THE COLLECTION - ARAMCO BRAT FIGURINES
Living in Dhahran provided many wonderful sports and musical opportunities for my family. The children’s library was also a great resource for bedtime storybooks and examples of cartoon characters. In honor of those special times, I’ve created a humorous series depicting an active Aramco Brat as a camel. Each figurine is hand-made using durable Premo polymer clay over a strong wire armature. Logos from the different organizations and schools are tattooed on the character’s clothing. Some include the Aramco Brat lapel pin. These camels are available at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ExpatTravelDolls.
Little League Camel - $38
A happy camel representing a Middle Eastern team in the annual Little league world series. On his back is the World Series logo. On his front is an Aramco Brat lapel pin. He measures 7 inches tall and 3 inches wide.
Basketball Camel - $38
Playing defense on the court. His clothing includes the Dhahran school Wildcats icon on the front and back. The basketball is wired up to his shoulder. He is secured to a wooden base. He is 7.5 in. and 4 in. wide.
Soccer Camel - $38
Soccer camel is ready to make a goal. His outfit includes an Aramco Brat lapel pin in the front. In the back is his team motto "Kick, Spit, Arrogant" ( KSA) He is 8 in. tall and 3 in. wide.
Shop my ExPat Travel Dolls store on Etsy for a wide selection of large and small hand-crafted figurines https://www.etsy.com/shop/ExpatTravelDolls. The following images are samples of what you will find.
Gratitude - $40
Lady is wearing the dress colors of the Bani Malik tribe of Saudi Arabia. Her inner robe was created by individually placed clay pieces. Her abaya is highlighted with Pearl-Ex powders. Her jewelry is created from a necklace made in the Kuchi village, Afghanistan. Her hands have a henna design. She arrives with a mini Turkish rug. She is 8 in. tall.
Wedding Bliss - $54
A young Saudi Arabian couple on their wedding. He wears the traditional male clothing. with the red//white patterned head covering. Her white gown includes a fabric trim and textured design at the tail. Her necklace is a repurposed Indian bracelet. She wears a "diamond" headpiece and ring. Their clothing is highlighted with Pearl-Ex powders. They arrive with a mini Turkish rug. They are 7.5 inches tall and cannot be separated.
Aisha - $55
Artist doll of an Arabic woman with a brass incense holder. She wears a Yemeni -inspired Beduoin jewelry. Her face covering is removable. Her head, wired hands and feet are sculpted from Premo polymer clay. Face is hand painted. She has a cloth body. Her clothing includes a silk inner dress and silk trim on her lined abaya. Her hair is created from lamb's wool. She is on a doll stand. She measures 12 inches.
Ahmed the geologist - $45
Figurine of an Arab man carrying an amethyst geode and a basket with crystals. He is sculpted from Premo polymer clay over a strong armature. His eyes are glass. He arrives with a small woven Turkish rug. He measures 8 inches.
Lady Driver - $25
In honor of the Saudi Arabian women allowed to drive, this humorous figurine is of a lady riding a female leather camel. She carries a metal decorative purse. The camel features were altered with clay. She arrives with a mini-Turkish rug. Figurine with camel is 6 inches tall and cannot be removed.
Man Playing Rebaba - $40
He has glass eyes and arrives with a mini woven Turkish rug. He is 6 in. tall.
I also create custom figurines. Please contact me at [email protected] with a detailed request. I will do my best to create a unique figurine or large doll to add to your international treasures.