Granny Flames Sculpture

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Ancestral Grandmother Spirit Guide of Indigenous Allegany Heritage


Concept art for my vision & sculpture I’m building. This will evolve. Follow Granny Flames on IG or on Facebook for future updates, fundraising, and progress.
Feel free to reach out if you’d like to contribute and support what we’re building!

Granny Flames represents an Ancestral Grandmother Spirit Guide of the Indigenous Allegany Heritage (Seneca Nation), and the welcoming, warm nature of a Grandmothers love. ??The Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI) is one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) Confederacy. The Allegany & Seneca Nation has many honorary names, including The Great Hill People, or “O-non-dowa-gah”, of the Beautiful River. The Seneca people are culturally attached to our ancestral lands, and call the Allegheny River the “Ohi’yo”. The Seneca are also known as the "Keeper of the Western Door," for the Seneca are the westernmost of the Six Nations. 

Of the two classes of Beings represented, the first is that of the leader, “The Great One,” who lives on the rim of the Earth, and traverses the path of the Sun. He carries a great staff and huge snapping turtle-shell rattle. His face is red in the morning as he comes from the east, and black in the afternoon as he looks back from the direction of the setting Sun. He controls high winds and watches over pestilence which might destroy the people.

"I have the power to control the wind, and I can protect the people in this way. If ever a strong wind or storm threatens them, I will use my cane and block it from destroying their settlements, and I can lift it and send it over their settlements so that it does not blow through. In addition to this, I have the power to heal sickness. If ever the people are struck down with illness they can call on me, and I will help them to get better. This is how they will do it: When they need aid of me in this way, they will create a mask whose face is in my image, and I will hand-pick the people who will create these masks. The very second that they lay the first strike in creating a mask, that fast will it have my power. When they use the mask they will prepare a certain kind of corn mush, and burn tobacco. The tobacco will form their words which I will hear, and I will come. They will refer to me as their Grandfather, and I will help them as long as the Earth remains."

Eagle feathers are used because the Seneca believe that the eagle is closest to the Creator. Turkey feathers are used since Turkeys are believed to protect the land. The Turtle is the primary symbol of the Seneca Nation. It represents the tribe’s connection to the earth and their role as protectors of the land. Deer, Heron, Hawk, Snipe, Bear, Wolf, Beaver, and Turtle are the totems associated with various tribes. The watering hole represents a place of healing, safety, and support. Medicine is located on her forehead, just as in traditional Seneca Healing ceremonies. Fire effects will be located in her wings and crown, which signifies Granny Flame’s patient, loving, and caring nature.

Outward Appearance

When Approaching Granny Flames, this 18 ft tall sculpture will be expressing a Warm, Powerful, Healing, and Welcoming energy. Being a fully organic construction, she will have a present feeling in her Bronze Face, Hands and Foot. She will be knitting a stainless chainmail string joining into her lap that is covered with a chainmail blanket for visitors to relax in. Her neck, chest and exposed knee will be covered with a tubular “fabric” spilling onto the ground which will be left unfinished for a rust patina, having a chainmail shawl over her shoulders and spilling into her lap, it will be evident she is relaxing into her moment. She will have rust patina finished feathered wings with a chain mail top cover and flames plumbed in between the layers of her wings. Her head dress and halo will continue this theme having a chainmail drape for her head and a crown with chainmail accents, feathers, and flames shooting from the top.

Design Phase

In order to make the final product organic and dimensionally accurate we will be making a clay sculpture. This sculpture will be 3d scanned into a CAD software where we will scale and then slice the model. This allows us to design the interior structure that we will be working with for sculpting Granny Flames Appearance. Each of these parts will have their own internal framework and structure: Legs, Body, Head, Wings, and Clothing. These individual assemblies allow us to build, disassemble and reassemble in a modular fashion.


Once our sculpture is finalized and CAD is finished we will order all materials for Granny Flames and begin working on her one piece at a time. The first step will be assembling the foundation which all of our structure will be made from. Second will be going through each modular part and adding required parts - exposed skin, pipe clothing, and feathers. Lastly we will add the finishing touches of chain mail and plumbing in lighting.


The sculpture will use projection mapping, LEDs, and digital artwork / animations to create a fully immersed and responsive experience for anyone viewing and interacting with the sculpture, complete with custom curated music in collaboration with local musicians.


Once Granny Flames is built, she will travel to Burning Man, among other places, for folks to experience. Ultimately, this sculpture will be placed on the Allegany Reservation for the remainder of her existence.


Bronze: Face, Hands, and Foot
Stainless Steel: Chain Mail
Mild Steel Galvanized: Foundations and interior structure
Mild Steel Rust Patina: Pipe Clothing, Feathers, clothing accents

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