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Helen Greyeyes
Mountain Lion
1992
commercial yarn
77 1/4 x 28 1/2 in.
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase made possible by Ralph Cross Johnson



Helen Greyeyes traveled a precipitous road from her red-rock canyon home to the Shonto Tradition Post in Arizona to sell rugs she skillfully wove on her hand-made loom. For twenty years she wove traditional geometric designs from homespun hand-dyed wool, until a voice from within told her to break with tradition and weave pictures in wool. These are as different from her traditional rugs as from the customary pictorials of Navajo landscapes or trees of life. In some of her later work she used commercial yarn for pictorial designs, such as this mountain lion, even as she continued to create traditional designs.