Where Were You on July 20, 1969... YELLOWSTONE by Starla J. Phelps

Where Were You on July 20, 1969… YELLOWSTONE

Starla J. Phelps

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Artist Statement

My husband had just graduated from GWU Law School and we decided to celebrate by taking a trip across the country in our little old Volkswagen. On that memorable day, we were at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. Having no access to television, we listened to the radio and heard Neil Armstrong make his immortal statement… “That’s one small step for man; one giant step for mankind.”

That night as we watched old faithful with the moon above we were immersed in the beauty and power of our amazing planet…earth. We could only wonder at the enormity of space and we imagined those three brave astronauts up there making history and risking their lives. We said a prayer for their safe return to earth.


I took a class with Vicki Pignatelli to learn her techniques and applied them. She showed me how to use a heat gun to make my Old Faithful look like water and steam. I made 5 different versions of Old faithful… I hand quilted the quilt as a United States Flag. The quilting around the moon = x’s to represent the stars on the flag. The rest is quilted as the stripes.


I used 25 different materials. Old Faithful has 12 different fabrics…plastics, tulle, holographic fabric, fabric with sparkles in it, threads, and films. The windshield and cover on the radio is a plastic type of fabric. The steering wheel is ultra suede and so are the dials. I painted the speedometer.