Journal: Fix Your Gaze

Jade Xian


(They/Them)
Website︎︎︎
Instagram︎︎︎




My name is Jade Lai Xian, and my pronouns are they/them. I am twenty-eight years old and a queer, genderfluid, Chinese-American artist. My family migrated to the Boston area in the 1980s from Guangdong, China. I came to Vermont from Boston in 2011 to attend UVM to study Environmental Studies and Studio Art.

Over the years, I’ve been more intentionally nurturing my love for the practices of illustration, ceramics, photography, language arts, botanical arts, and somatic arts (including music, movement improv, and aerial dance). I have found a big affinity for ceramics since doing it in school as a kid, and it still makes my cells shine every time I create and design with clay. Designing the surfaces of pottery when I was in high school helped me realize that I like painting, and that I can do it on other surfaces, too (though I love doing it on 3D surfaces the most). I started obsessing over typography when I was in sixth grade; I downloaded a few hundred fonts, studied typeface details, and practiced drawing them rather than paying attention in class.

Ceramics, photography, and graphic design are my main mediums at the moment, as I’ve been channeling my energy into these forms to get my business, Cloud Fossil Design, off the ground. The name “cloud fossil” is a term I came up with a few years ago to pay tribute to water as a source of life on Earth and to all the forms that water takes shape in and moves through. Water and rock shift and carve each other in a constant cycle of movement and change in riverbeds.

The handmade ceramics stoneware pieces I make serve as tools for self-care practices and rituals. The cloud fossil rocks can be used as gua sha stones if you like to practice that on your body! I was ecstatic to realize this use for the rocks when I first started making them because I’ve been practicing acupressure and reflexology on myself since I was younger for tendinitis and TMJ, and the intuitive moments of my care practices aligning with my creations is some divine affirmation.

As I go along, I’ll start to share more of the botanical products and somatic practices that can be used with the cloud fossil vessels and expand my offerings to include visual and written content about using them in the kitchen, bath, garden, altar, etc. These tools have become my daily life resources over the years as I began to intentionally deepen my connection with my body vessel, my community, our planet, and the cosmos.
In this way, everything I make and share through my creations is very intimate to my life process. I hosted a radio show on 90.1 WRUV FM for a few years when I was in school, and it helped me develop the concept of Kitchen Island as my ecosomatic lens for observing, reflecting on, and evolving the narrative through which I’m operating and viewing myself in the context of my broader communities. This has been integral to navigating and growing through chronic depression and ptsd I have been struggling with over the years.

Honeyjug, my brass vessel life companion, and I have been weaving together this imaginative Kitchen Island world that helps me understand narratives of my somatic memory as these dramatized nightmares and dreams that depressive episodes, psychotic episodes, and other mental states can feel like. These stories won’t be ready to share until I have the spaciousness in my life to really be in that writing and drawing process. I hope that my work and creations help others learn about their own processes for healing, integrating, and evolving systems in tangible ways within our own lives and communities.

Trying to be an artist for a living also feels like giving myself lots of parallel focus to develop my work as an Earth science educator and community organizer. As I’ve been opening up publicly about my gender expansive identity and my experience with racism as an Asian-American in recent years, I’ve really prioritized being in community with others that affirm rest, care, and pleasure and who relate in their own identities and experiences, which has been profoundly healing and essential.

While my self-discovery has continued to transform and expand, I have allowed myself less tolerance for disrespectful and violating workplaces, behaviors, and relationships, which has made entrepreneurship all the more appealing for the autonomy of choosing and navigating community connections with intention. That trauma has still been intense and present for me this summer with situations that came up, and I continue to orient my business and its operations in relation to supporting and elevating QTBIPOC folks in my community. It’s been very overwhelming to transition into entrepreneurship this year, but I am deeply grateful to be here and determined to keep pouring myself into all of this. Honeyjug is too!