Interview No. 1: Claressinka Anderson Pugliese, founder of Marine Projects

I have a fascination with the morning.  Seems to be the time when we are most easily ourselves—vulnerable, a little bleary eyed, and not yet confronted by the world.  

I’m also very interested in how people spend their mornings.  For me, I usually wake up much earlier than I would like (thanks to my almost two year-old son Max), and we read books or play with trucks or blocks.  I then stumble to make coffee as quickly as possible.  Sometimes, it’s literally a rude awakening and not always the most inspiring.  

But "they" say that a good morning ritual can help us to be more creative and productive—the holy grail, right?  So I put together a Proust-meets-wake-up-call questionnaire called the Breakfast Club Series where I ask the same set of questions to people I find especially inspiring or creative or productive or all of the above.  Some will be my friends, some acquaintances, and I might make a cold call here and there.  But I figured we could all benefit from an intimate glimpse into the mornings of some pretty great people.  

Quick introduction to the first Breakfast Club member, Claressinka Anderson Pugliese:

Claressinka Pugliese

Claressinka photographed with her pug Poppy at her home, in Venice, by Lance Dawes

Back on October 30, 2014, I met my dear friend Claressinka for a “breakfast brainstorm” (per my calendar’s record), and our conversation led to a mutual love of ceramics.  This happened at a time in my life when I was looking for the next phase, professionally speaking.  And this conversation ultimately inspired PAX into existence.  As an acknowledgement of Claressinka’s critical and encouraging role, the Marine gradient glaze is named after her company Marine Projects.  And it only makes sense that she be the first person interviewed.

Claressinka Pugliese is founder of Marine Projects, which encompasses an Art Salon, Marine Contemporary (a gallery on Abbot Kinney from 2011 - 2014), and art advisory.  She has exhibited works from some of the most dynamic emerging artists, including Fay Ray, Rives Granade, Alexandra Grant, Debra Scacco, Matthias Merkel Hess, FriendsWithYou, and others. 

Here are her responses:

1. How many hours of sleep is ideal for you?  When do you typically wake up?
9 hours. I usually wake up around 7.30 or 8am.

2. What's the first thing you do, right after waking up?
I lie in bed for a minute or so, holding onto my dream state, thinking about my dreams and what they may mean. After that, I think about the day ahead and prepare myself.

3. Do you have a memory of waking up to watch the sun rise?  Where were you?
I was in New Zealand on New Years Eve in 1999 and I got up to watch the sunrise on January 1st. I was camping in a forest and I remember the orange glow coming through the trees, it was absolutely magical. I believe that New Zealand was the first inhabited country to see the sun rise for the new Millennium.

4. Do you have a morning ritual?  If so, please explain.
I like to walk my dog Poppy to the beach. It really centers me and prepares me for the day.  I have to admit, I can’t manage to do it every day, but I try to do it several times a week. The earlier the better. I love the quiet of the morning.

5. What is your favorite breakfast meal?
Egg and soldiers. This was always my favorite breakfast growing up in England. You soft boil an egg (I do mine for 5 minutes) and serve it with toast cut into strips, a.k.a, “soldiers". Five minutes leaves a large egg with the yolk runny in the middle, but all the whites well cooked. I run the egg under cold water immediately after taking it from the boiling water, pop it in an egg cup and crack the top off. I season it with salt and pepper and dunk the soldiers in the yolk. The toast must be buttered! I love this breakfast so much, I still have it all the time.

6. If you could have a conversation with anyone over breakfast, who would it be? What would you ask them?
A breakfast companion would be different to a dinner companion for me. I’d still be waking up, so I’d prefer a gentler personality compared to someone that I might pick at night. I’ve always wanted to meet the Dalai Lama. I think he would be an excellent breakfast companion. I’d ask him what he thinks is the single most important thing in life.

7. If you could be transported anywhere in the world tomorrow morning, where would you most love to wake up?
Definitely the Swiss Alps. The mountains are where my soul resides. I can smell the air just thinking about them!

8. What's your morning soundtrack?
I listen to the morning news shows on KCRW. On the weekend I enjoy This American Life and The New Yorker Radio Hour.