Treasured Memories of the Kingdom

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 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.

Treasured Memories of the Kingdom
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.
Treasured Memories of the Kingdom
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.

The one-of-a-kind figurines are hand sculpted from polymer clay over a strong armature, including wired hands to hold objects. They are made to last for years if treated with care.

They average 8 to 10 inches tall. They have glass eyes They can also be created without facial features. Each face is crafted under magnification. Females have eye makeup and textured abaya edges. Henna designs decorate their hands. Handbags can be created to match their outfit. For males, the ghuttra is available in the red/white checkered pattern or white. The thobe can be any color.

I love creating custom made pieces for customers using objects collected in my travels. These include miniature coffee pots, miniature Turkish rugs, Bedouin beads, leather camels, and Indian silk fabrics.

Today I am proud to call myself an Aramco retiree and with each figurine I create, I relive the memories of my 25 years in the KSA and the wonderful people living there. Through my artwork, I want to also enrich yours.

Treasured Memories of the Kingdom
Full bladder Santa - $25

Figurine of Santa barely staying on a tired-looking leather camel. An English and Arabic message on the camel's side reads "Please stop my bladder is full". Santa, camel hat, scarf and saddle cover are made from Premo polymer clay. Santa is secured to camel by inner wiring. Santa's hair is lamb's wool. Total height is 6 inches.
Treasured Memories of the Kingdom
Wise King Melchior - $200

One-of-a-kind artist doll representing a Middle Eastern Wise King sitting on a leather camel. His head, wired hands and feet are sculpted from Premo polymer clay. His custom-made outfit includes a lined robe made from an Indian silk sari and a silk inner robe and matching head covering. His beard and hair are lamb's wool. The crown was created from 2 infant bangles and an Egyptian themed pendant. He carries a polymer clay vessel capped by a jeweled bead. His metal dagger is secured by a leather belt. The shoes are made from leather cording and clay. The camel seat is covered in fabric and tassel trim. The doll's sitting height is 6 inches. The camel is handmade in India. The neck is decorated with jewelry findings. The camel is10 inches tall and measures 10 inches from head to tail. The doll can be removed from the camel. Doll secured to camel with inner tubing.

Please contact me with a detailed request to [email protected]. I will do my best to create a unique figurine or large doll to add to your international treasures. Please view the gallery of available figurines on my website stores: and the larger dolls at

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Under: Specialty
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