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  • Writer's picturetravelchick64


Updated: Nov 7, 2023

I can see it in my head!

An eight to ten foot tall, illuminated, Purrmaid (half cat, half mermaid) floating out on the playa at Burning Man.

Her fish tail slowly sways and swishes back and forth, her big cat eyes move to the same rhythm. AND she's playing a ukulele...why not?

A lush kelp forest, vibrant eelgrass beds and ripples of light envelop her. She's surrounded by schools of odd, bioluminescent, sea creatures.

She embodies the mysteries of the ocean...specifically, the Pacific Ocean kelp forests off the coast of Central and Northern California.

What's her tail (sic)?

Through informational bubbles (literally!) she tells the story of the importance of the kelp forests and eelgrass beds. Kelp and eelgrass absorb climate-warming greenhouse gasses, improve water quality, and help protect coastlines from increasingly frequent and severe storms.

We humans have damaged a lot of our wetlands, marshes and mudflats through dredging, tideland filling and pollution. This directly impacts the health of the ocean - and us!!! Taking steps to improve and protect coastal habitat like kelp forests and estuaries will - hopefully! - prevent the loss of this essential ecosystem.


Illustrations by El Gato Gomez and the wonderful vintage Kit-Cat clock.

Figuring it out...


The Purrmaid is half black cat (my favorite) and half Mermaid. She is suspended from supports that secure her body while allowing her tail to swing freely. Her tail is made from repurposed tubing rings and scrap metal, cut to look like scales and painted with an oceanic palette of greens and blues. The tail glows from within with color-changing LED lights and is boldly outlined with neon LED strips. Her upper body is a sweet-faced kitty wearing salt water pearls and a clamshell bra, sporting a ukulele with strings made from LED strips. Her eyes mimic the motion of of her tail like the vintage Kit-Cat clocks.

The support structure/sculpture is created with bent and twisted metal tubing and rod to create the look of Bull Kelp forests and Eelgrass beds.

The top of the support structure/sculpture resembles a flying Bat Ray and houses solar panels on its back. Soothing, water-effect lighting ripples down over the Purrmaid from underneath the Bat Ray.

Eclectic sea creatures painted with uv-reactive colors and acrylic dome bubbles, illuminated with black lights, dot the entire support structure. Small doors in some of the sea creatures hide discoverable messages.

The Purrmaid and her kelp forest support structure sit on a solid base (dimensions, materials and anchoring TBD), decorated to look like a magical ocean floor. The solar power system's charge controller is hidden in a treasure chest resting on the base. The batteries, timer, and other electronics, are tucked away underneath a secret panel in the base.


This is my idea for the Black Rock City Honoraria for 2024.

I've been obsessed with creating art about environmental issues and I love, love, love making cat art. Win/Win!

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