In her decades-long career, Anjelica Huston has taken on many roles—film actress, fashion model, and author of a hit book. Now the Academy Award winner has added a few unlikely credits to her resume, including farmer, sculptor, and potter.
For much of her life, Huston shied away from pursuing pottery because sculpture was the province of her late-husband, artist Robert Graham, known for his monumental bronze nudes. “I never dared do anything like this when Bob was alive,” she says. “This was his sacred ground. He had no idea I had this interest—and maybe I didn’t until recently.”
Graham died in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2016 that Huston decided to try her hand at throwing pots and sculpting figurines. “I’ve always had a fascination with clay,” she says, “but it takes at least three years to be good on the wheel. So I started making bowls and these little clay ladies inspired by a yoga class. There’s something really nice about how women stretch before yoga—it’s very ballet. So I started doing their portraits. Then suddenly I had this accumulation. So I thought, ‘Give them as presents.’”
Huston’s collection of simple, one-of-a-kind bowls and figures eventually became so large that two years ago she decided to sell her wares at a small party at the Pamela Barish boutique in Venice. “That was the first night I sold anything, and I sold out!” says Huston. “I always get a little exhilarated when I sell something. It’s not like feedback for a role that’s part of a large group project; this is something I create myself, alone. I’m not sure it’s ‘art’; I’d say it’s craft bordering on art.”
Huston’s pieces fly off the shelves as fast as she can make them. They’re coated in glazes that she mixes herself—shades of pistachio, cream, and pale salmon—and they’re intentionally imperfect.
One of her collectors is filmmaker Wes Anderson, who’s directed her in The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, and the upcoming The French Dispatch. “Wes bought one of my girls and two bowls! He’s a babe. I’m only the narrator in The French Dispatch, but, trust me, it’s great, intricate, pure Wes.
“But now, with the pandemic, pottery and figures is what I’m doing. Am I like Demi Moore in Ghost? Well, kinda. More like Grandma Moses—older, but no less enthusiastic.”
Huston is happy to let her pieces go. “They were all stacked up in my cabinet, and the girls needed an airing. Some friends are buying, and some people I don’t know, which is even nicer. As I’ve always said, we just have to go on with the business of living. Be with people we love. This is it, after all—this is what we have now.”