Yellow Octopus

Mask made of bottle plastic with yellow octopus drawn on its face. Blue claws come out the top of its head. Eyes made of bottle spouts. It does not cover the wearer's mouth and nose.

Mask in total darkness. Yellow wires illuminate the octopus face while blue wires illuminate the claws coming out the top of its head.

Primary materials: Plastic from gallon water bottles, braided thread, markers, electro-luminescent wires.

I built this right after Kaleidoscope. I wanted to incorporate what I had learned and make something designed to look good with its lights on. To that end I stuck with the lighter colors available to me and completely avoided black. I bought longer lights so I would have enough wire to illuminate the crown.

Because I repeated the design of Kaleidoscope, construction on this was quite similar. The apparent leap from something pretty rough to smooth is, to some degree, deceptive. My plastic skills did improve from the first to the second project, but the first time I was also purposefully going for a rougher aesthetic.

Right front of octopus mask. Yellow tentacles are drawn around the side on blue background. Black cord hangs down from back.

Right front of mask in total darkness. Yellow wires illuminate the octopus face and sides of mask, while blue wires illuminate the claws coming out the top of its head.

As with Kaleidoscope, the wire coming out of the mask connects the lights to power packs that can be put in your pocket or on your belt when wearing this. The “true” power-pack wires are only about five inches long, so to make this workable I had to run the luminescent wire out the back the required distance and then cover it with tape. This cost the mask itself about four feet of luminescent wire. I had long enough lights this time to do what I wanted, although it was close.

Left side of mask. Yellow tentacles are drawn around the side on blue background. Black cord hangs down from back.

Left side of mask in total darkness. Yellow wires illuminate the octopus face and sides of mask while blue wires illuminate the claws coming out the top of its head.

Back of mask. Yellow tentacles interlace with each other in complex wiggly pattern over blue background.

Back mask in total darkness. Yellow wires illuminate the back while blue wires illuminate the claws coming out the top of its head. One blue wire crosses yellow wires to bottom of mask.

This is the first mask I’ve worn out in public (all these pictures are from after my excursion–it held up pretty well). I live near some fields where there is a Fourth of July fireworks show each year. A lot of people come out before the show to buy kettle corn and cotton candy, sit on lawn chairs and blankets, and listen to a military band. There are usually some people out with glow sticks and LEDs, but nothing big.

I wore this over, while a friend of my sister wore Kaleidoscope. We got a pretty good reaction. Some people came up and asked about the masks, and one woman not only asked about this one but thanked me for wearing it.

The visibility in this is limited. A lot of the time I couldn’t see anyone’s reaction because I couldn’t see much of anything. But there were certainly some people I saw who didn’t give me a second look, even when I had the lights blinking on full blast.

I think this is a good thing. It might be flattering to the ego to think that other people are really observant of us and care what we’re doing all the time. But realistically, if people don’t notice or care about a blinking octopus mask, how likely are they to care about the “what-will-people-think” worry du jour?