Meet Pauline Croom-Nadal, ceramic artist and winemaker

How does one carve out their own creative path as an artist and also uphold a sixth generation family legacy? Well, one woman who has taught me this and shown me the way of balancing the past,  present, artistic vision and family heritage is Pauline-Croom Nadal.

Pauline was one of the first ladies I met when I moved to South France;  from the day I saw her and spoke with her she was impressive but in the most humble and playful way. One would never know she carries the weight of her families vineyard legacy on her shoulders, coupled with her own artistic endeavors; she embodies grace and strength. Now, I have been in South France for nearly three years and have been able to get to know her family – they opened their arms to me and even their ancient Sisters Chapel that is on the grounds; yes that’s right they invited me to lead a New Year’s Quartz Sound Bath Meditation within the walls of stones that are nearly 1000 years old. It was one of the most significant feelings I have ever felt. The 115 hectares of land itself is just one of those places that transports you back to a simpler time; the trees are giants and feel as though they touch the sky; the hidden walkways bring you down paths that resonate with past lives; the lake and river that flow remind you how water is the essence of life and you can imagine the woman before filling their buckets. The animals roam the yard freely and without fear. Everything the Nadal’s do is with so much care and respect for the earth; from their solar power,  to how Pauline’s father still tends to every vine with his own hands. These are just some of the reasons why I felt it was important to share the valor that Pauline has and her family has carved out through generations.

Can you introduce yourself briefly?

I’m Pauline, born in the south of France. I grew up on my family’s vineyard, where I spent most of my time hiding and playing in the vines fields. I started my studies in fine arts in Paris then got into Central Saint Martins in London, where my entire universe beautifully collapsed! After 3 years of HARD work (I have to say that my English was extremely bad)… I passed my degree and I started to work in a ceramic studio based in East London and also assisted one of the best set designers in London during fashion weeks. At this time, I was also working for my parents’ winery on the side. This is when I started travelling around to attend international wine trade shows, meeting clients and presenting our organic wines. I’m now a ceramic artist/winemaker/graphic designer, based in Perpignan, with my husband and 2 years old son.

Where does beauty hide? Can it be found in ordinary things? 

Beauty hides in light. Beauty is, to me, revealed by light and can definitely be found in ordinary things.

Do you remember the first thing that amazed you as a child?

Flowers. I wanted to become a florist.

When did you know it was part of your legacy to work with your family’s vineyard and how did this shift your own desires?

I was turning 21, travelling in China and showcasing my family’s winery. I was doing tasting and transmitting this hidden passion. I started to realize how much this legacy truly meant for me. It all suddenly made sense.

Can you describe what it is like to work on/and with land that has been in your family for generations?

Working on/and with this land is truly something. There is this “small” weight on the shoulders that’s always there because I’m the sixth generation…No but to be honest, it’s magical. The hardest part of the job is to maintain what my grandparents and parents spent their lives building. They did an incredible job on the land, cultivating the vines as well as renovating the cellar, the guesthouse, the wedding hall and lately the chapel from the XIIth century. I mainly worked on the branding of our wines, that was my small “renovation”. The labels were very traditional and old fashioned. I’m obviously still learning so much by following my dad in the vines. It’s incredible because my father is an extremely patient teacher. I can ask the same questions a hundred times and he will still answer. There is so much to know in this field. I just love learning, and what’s great about wine making is that you learn your whole life. 

How do you blend your artistic background and vision with your work at the vineyard?

I’ve curated a few art shows on the vineyard with my work and the work of other artists. I now have my ceramic studio on the yard, where I go hide and make things during my lunch breaks. But the wine process is definitely an art in itself, because we are creating something. From the soil and the trees, that you worked all year long, you harvest the grapes, make wine with it and bottle it. It’s an incredible feeling! We actually created our first cuvée between sisters and that was awesome.
Working on the wine labels also keeps my artistic mind at peace. I’m allowed to play with it now which is great.

What was the first piece of art you created and felt proud of?

A stomach made in glass with ceramic teeth inside it.

What project are you working on now and when will you share it with the world? What is its message?

It’s a project that I’m doing with one of my sisters who is an artist based in Paris, Marie Luce Nadal. I make big wine containers/jars in black clay. I can’t really talk about it… She made a film about the whole project and will be soon revealed.

This may be a common question, but will you share three of your inspiration heroes and what you find beautiful about them ?

  • Yves Klein for his fire paintings and his Klein blue.
  • David Medalla for his kinetic bubble machines.
  • Roman Signer for his definition of sculpture and explosions. 

The beauty of their art hides in the action and the impulse. The way they define their Art is particularly interesting. It’s not just pretty, it’s sudden, it’s explosive and I love it. 

Do you believe that Beauty will save us? How?

A “virtuous circle” where everyone would do an honest kind gesture to the next door neighbor with nothing expected in return. Just pure kindness to help. Everything would be so much more beautiful.