Apollo 11 Returning to the Big Blue Marble - Home © Starla Phelps

Apollo 11 Returning to the Big Blue Marble – Home

Starla J. Phelps

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Artist Statement

“First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish.” (John F. Kennedy’s speech to Congress on July 25, 1961)

Space Travel – a New Frontier – Moon Landing – It took three brave Astronauts and a massive number of hard working people to accomplish this extraordinary event.

When Apollo 11 departed the moon, dangers remained in the long journey back to our beautiful planet – the BIG BLUE MARBLE! From the capsule windows, the astronauts could see far away to HOME. As the astronauts drew closer, the Earth appeared larger, revealing its unique elements of life in all their beauty.

Back into orbit above HOME… their lives still at risk, their families waiting and praying… the cramped and tired Astronauts had the greatest “show” of their lives… various views of the Earth, still small in the enormity of space, but glorious and welcoming as they witnessed its continents, oceans, clouds, city lights, and the Sun rising over the arc of the sphere. And finally, at last, HOME and success.

This joy of success is what I wish to express in this quilt. The awe-inspiring images of our Earth as seen from space by the returning astronauts is an essential part of the story of Man’s First Visit to the Moon.


Trapunto to make the rims 3 dimensional, painted all three of the rims, and cutout pieces of black Ultraseude to put the crystals and additional paint to make the lights. Swarovski crystals added to tulle covering the entire quilt. Machine quilted orbit lines.


Base fabrics: silk dupioni, 2 sparkle fabrics. Swarovski crystals, paint, Ultrasuede, Angelina, pulled wool and cotton, plastic for the window, silver lame, and foils.