Expression, Idioms, and Slang:
“Blow off steam”: This idiom means to find a way to release stress or frustration. In the context of the conversation, Misha uses it to describe how working with clay and making pots helps her relax and relieve stress.
“Have your heart in something”: This expression indicates having a strong passion or deep interest in something. Misha mentions that she has her heart in pottery, meaning she is very passionate about it.
“Epic”: In slang, “epic” is used to describe something extraordinary, remarkable, or awesome. Misha uses it to emphasize how much she enjoys the experience of making pottery.
“Pull your hair out”: This phrase is used when someone is very frustrated or stressed. When you want to “pull your hair out,” you are feeling overwhelmed.
“Completes you”: To say that something completes you means it gives you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction. In the conversation, Misha explains that making pottery completes her, as it brings her a great deal of satisfaction.
“Zone out”: This expression means to become absorbed or lost in thought, often to the point where you are not fully aware of your surroundings. Misha uses it to describe how she gets lost in the process of making pottery.
“Mesmerizing”: This word means something is captivating or enthralling. Misha finds making pots to be mesmerizing, suggesting that it’s a captivating experience for her.
“Apprenticeship”: An apprenticeship is a period during which a person is learning a trade or skill from a more experienced professional. Misha mentioned her apprenticeship in pottery, signifying her learning from a master potter.
“Mud season”: In the context of Maine’s climate, “mud season” refers to the time between the end of winter and the beginning of spring when the ground is thawing, creating muddy conditions. It’s not a literal season but a period with specific weather characteristics.
“Blueberries”: Blueberries are a type of berry that can be found in the wild. Misha talks about picking wild blueberries in Maine, which is a common summer activity in the state.
Welcome to the American Slang podcast where we will explore language and culture in different regions of the United States.
Slang is a type of informal language that’s typically spoken in a certain area or by a group of people.
Culture is dynamic.
Language is dynamic.
And in this podcast, we will explore the connections between them and the way new words and expressions emerge in different places in America.
Welcome to this month’s episode, I interview Misha Sanborn, a professional potter and she talks about her career decision to become an artist and the benefits of making art and the reasons why she feels so compelled to create and to craft these beautiful bowls and pots that she makes with such a unique style.
So I hope you enjoyed this episode.
And then at the end of the podcast, I’m going to be talking about some of the wonderful expressions that she uses and some of the idioms and the slang.
So hopefully you will really enjoy hearing from Misha.
Let’s get started.
Misha Sanborn is a potter who works with clay and ceramics and she sells her pottery in Maine at art fairs and galleries.
She makes functional pottery with a unique style and she often uses sage green, blue and earthy tones with floral elements.
She studied English literature at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia.
And then she met Dan Finnegan, a master potter at Liberty Arts in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Misha fell in love with his pots and decided to do an apprenticeship with him.
So she is here today to tell us about her pottery and what it’s like to make mugs, variables, plates and juicers out of clay.
So, thank you for joining me today, Misha.
And I just want you to kind of tell us why you decided to become a potter.
Thanks for having me.
That’s an interesting question.
So I, after I graduated college, I went into a pottery downtown where I was living and, I talked to the potter there and I was just interested in taking classes, really just for fun, like a hobby.
And then, it was just a way to kind of relax, chill out, kind of after work.
And so, I just fell in love with it.
I, I really enjoyed it.
I took a class and of course, and I actually took a class in college, before I graduated and really enjoyed that and I just kind of fell in love with it and kept taking classes and, really had a passion for it.
So, are you kind of a big fan?
Of the clay itself.
Just the feeling of the clay, like the tactile element.
It’s kind of a sensory experience to work with me.
Yeah, it was, it was a great way to kind of relax, blow off steam and it was really, I liked getting my hands in the clay.
and kind of like using my hands to create something felt really satisfying and fulfilling.
So I just, I just was talking to Dan and he had an apprenticeship available and it just seemed like good timing because you could have, you studied literature, right?
You could have become a liter, like an English teacher, English teacher or something.
And it was like the fork in the road and you had to choose between these, you had to kind of make a decision almost.
It was like, yeah.
Did you see yourself going in various career directions or did you just, so I was gonna get my master’s in education, which I did eventually get later on.
But I just didn’t have my heart in it.
And so, I, I just decided that that’s not what I wanted to do.
And, you know, I was young, I didn’t have a lot going on.
So it seemed like a good time to try something like that, you know, live simply and without a lot of money for a while as a starving artist, how long did it take you to throw to be able to throw a pot on the wheel and create something decent that was sort of functional.
It took a while.
I mean, I would say I’ve been taking classes for at least a year or so.
I mean, I teach classes now and I always tell people to really be, patient because it does take a lot of practice.
but Dan would, so when I started working for Dan, he was kind of showing me how to make pots and throw functionally and he would just have me make like 50 cylinders and put four handles on each one.
Like not to keep, but just to practice.
it was pretty epic.
I mean, I made one pot after the other just like, all day.
You know, it’s, he’s a, it was a fun, it was all functional pots, it was a production line.
So, you know, you have to kind of make pots back and, but did you want to kind of pull your hair out because it was so stressful, like, or was it just sort of relaxing?
Yeah, I was just, was a huge fan of the clay and the feeling and it, it just, no, I was never frustrated.
That’s why it just, it, it completes me.
I, I feel like, like a whole person when I’m doing it.
And I guess I know that you have a very, unique style.
So I’m wondering, you know, Dan has his style and I know like you sort of, I don’t know if you kind of copied his style at first and then found your own style or if you just kind of eventually developed your own style.
How did it work to develop your own style?
It’s kind of funny how it happens on its own.
I mean, I certainly go through periods of time where I think I need to change things and try something new, but I definitely created dance forms and, and over time, you know, I kind of took what he taught me when I learned from him and turned it into my own.
But you could see even now a lot of similarities and shape from his, his older pots.
and then, you know, some of my pots.
So I’m, I’m heavily influenced by that and he was influenced in by traditional English pottery.
So that’s probably kind of the history of a lot of my forms are influenced by that too, just because of my influence by Dan.
But yeah, I mean, I created my own forms too, but I was heavily influenced by his, for sure.
Yeah, because I’m wondering about the functional idea, many potters create just pots that are pretty or that are beautiful, like artistic shapes.
And I know yours are more functional.
So why did you decide to do functional pottery that you can actually drink out of the mug and usable.
Yeah, I just love the idea of everyday art and this kind of, this history and tradition that’s been lost.
I mean, there used to be pottery all over the place and people that’s where people’s pots or, dish where it came from.
and we’ve gotten away from that and there’s something really special about some sort of handmade piece that you have a connection to or that you find beautiful or you love the shape or the way your hand holds it when you drink coffee that’s really kind of intimate.
And it’s a nice way to, like, connect with other people in a great way to sort of enjoy life, like the little things every day.
And so I just love that connection between how you’re using your pottery and how it makes you feel.
and I like, I like doing that and, and I like it to be something that, someone enjoys looking at too, but I like the functionality of it because you can actually use it and not just look at it.
Do you ever just take your mug and just sort of write a poem and drink tea out of one of the mugs you made?
No, I do that with the, some of the mugs you made me, I’d like to s the, the, the tea and write some poetry.
We’ll have to try that.
And I guess I’m wondering if you enjoy more creating pottery or teaching it because I know you said that sometimes you teach pottery.
Do you like to do both or do you prefer one on the other?
Do you like to teach pottery a lot?
I like some people get really frustrated because it is kind of a labor of love.
So you have to really work at it and practice and some people go into a class thinking, oh, I’m just gonna make a pot today and have all these pots.
But that’s kind of, that’s not really how it is.
You have to practice a lot.
so I do love teaching, especially when people fall in love with because generally with pottery or wheel throwing, which is what I do.
You either love it or you don’t like the people who love it, really love it and, and catch on to it.
so I love that.
but I, I would much prefer to, to be making my own pots than to teaching.
because I, I just love kind of, you know, it’s just a great way to relax and I zone out and I’m just kind of there and present with my, my pot and, yeah, they’re just mesmerizing, like being on the wheel and watching it go around and see this pot form.
It’s really, I really enjoy it.
And a question for you is like, I know when I would took pottery in high school art classes and stuff.
They just the pots that I made weighed so much and it was like it was just this chunk of clay.
And so did, did it take you a while to figure out the right balance between like to create a mug that was like easy to hold but not too heavy and the right handle and all of that like, yeah, that took me several years I would say before.
I felt like I made a good mug.
and mugs honestly, mugs are still one of my favorite things to make.
Other potters don’t really like them because they’re kind of simple and not super exciting sometimes, but I love them because they’re so, there’s so many variations in form and it’s probably the one pot that gets used the most by people that they use the most frequently.
So yeah, I, I love the mug.
and it’s, it took me a while to get, to where I could throw it.
So it felt good because when you pick it up, you want there to be some balance to it, you don’t want it to be too heavy on the bottom and that just comes with lots of practice.
Yeah, I remember the first mug that you gave me that you when you started making mugs and it was really heavy actually, it was really heavy and they started getting lighter and lighter and yeah, Yeah.
And do you have a top selling pot that people really like?
I know at one point you were saying these berry bowls that where you put blueberries in and wash them out, those were selling really well.
I don’t know what sells really well.
Now they’re pretty popular and especially in Maine, you know, blueberries are really big things I think.
Tell me about that because I know you say you can go to the mountains and just pick blueberries and may just, yeah, you can just show up.
I mean, generally they’ll tell you if you can pick or not.
But yeah, there’s all these abandoned or unused, blueberry fields that you can just go pick and they don’t belong to any farmers in particular.
No, a lot of them are heritage sites are part of like a Conservancy.
But, no, you just go and you don’t have to pay, you just go.
And I mean, there it takes a lot of work though.
It makes me appreciate the blueberries.
You get frozen in the store because you have to pick them individually.
Are there thorns or something that you have to watch out for that?
You do, you watch out for thorns and the like the low growing wild ones are super small.
So you just have to work at it.
No, but yeah, it’s really great.
So, yeah, so that I made like Berry bowls, for the blueberries.
and mugs are probably my biggest seller.
But certainly like the berry bowls and my, I make like bigger, like, serving bowls.
Those, those seem like they, they sell.
Did you know that your pictures are all over Google?
When you see, when you search, like Misha Sanborn pottery, you could see all these beautiful images of your pots, did you know?
Like, no, this is great.
What you have to Google search.
Misha Sanborn pottery, you’ll see.
But anyway, I was gonna ask you a little bit about Maine.
So I know you’ve been living in Maine for a while now.
You have a house in the countryside and I, I kind of want to know a little bit about the lifestyle there.
What you do.
I know you, you, so you sell your pots at a gallery in Portland Maine?
and I sell at a, a little gallery in Fredericksburg, Liberty Town Arts Workshop, which is where I used to work and have a studio before I moved.
and right now, I mean, there’s a couple, there’s a couple of shows I would like to do up here, did craft shows in Virginia.
But I, I have to build a gas kiln.
I have to build my own kiln.
So it kind of limits how many, how many pots I can create.
So, I’m still just really doing it very part time.
But I’m hoping in the next year to build a kiln and then to sell at more because Maine is really great and supportive of the arts.
Yeah, they have a lot of great programs and, you know, Mainers seem like they are, they like buying things made in Maine.
They want to buy a local.
And there’s a ton of tourists in the summer.
So definitely there’s international tourists to go, that, go to the, the National Park that Arond or Acadia.
But then there’s like the coast.
And, I mean, it’s the quintessential New England coast.
People love it.
Do people go on lighthouse tours when they visit me?
There are a ton of lighthouses up here and there’s lobster.
Lobster is like a huge lobster and blueberries are like the two big, foods probably, maple syrup.
People are tapping, sugar maple trees right now.
I mean, like everyone does it just, everyone, if you have maple sugar trees, you just tap them and you get the sap out and then you boil it down and make maple syrup.
Are you going to do it?
I know it takes a ton of sap to make a small amount of maples does.
We didn’t do it this year.
I can’t wish we had.
But, I need to identify more of our trees to see which ones are for Sugar Maples.
but, we didn’t do this.
We did last year.
Yeah, it’s pretty fun.
Yeah, it sounds like it looks, it seems like a beautiful state.
The beautiful state.
I mean, it, the end of March though when we’re getting a foot of snow on Sunday.
Yeah, I saw you called me.
It was from your car.
It was, it was, there was a blizzard, blizzard outside.
It was, it was snowing and it was like a white out.
And you had said you had told me that you were taking your son to a hockey match or something and they, no one was canceling anything because this was just reality.
That’s just how people and people don’t cancel anything for ice hockey.
It seems like up here.
But, yeah, it’s just how you, you know, you just get used to it in the middle.
Is that the big ice hockey?
Yeah, I would say ice hockey is pretty big for sure.
I don’t know.
I mean, they do basketball, they do soccer but, they do it at different times of the year I think than we did in Virginia.
But, yeah, ice hockey is pretty big and, like, you know, snowboarding and skiing and that sort of thing.
I mean, winter sports, there are mountains nearby to go skiing.
Yeah, I think we have a, a place to ski about 45 minutes away.
But if you want to go to the big mountain but an hour and a half to two hours away, like, the really big ones.
I have a little home studio and, we have a bunch of chickens.
That’s, that’s always been your lifelong dream to have chicken.
So, it’s great.
So, it’s really great.
The boys come true.
Finally I’ve got a backyard full of chickens.
Although one keeps going in my studio and laying an egg in one of my buckets.
Are you serious?
It’s like here’s a little gift for you.
Come in with a gift or something.
Yeah, it’s great.
So we’re really enjoying it.
Yeah, it’s been, it’s been fun to kind of discover Maine and learn all about it.
Do you think it would be a good destination for people to visit if they’re from another country to visit Maine?
I think so.
I mean, I think there’s a lot of things for tourists to do in Maine for sure.
And like, summers are beautiful.
I mean, kayaking.
Anything, anything you can think of really hike tons of hiking.
There’s tons of lakes.
, you know, there’s the coast.
There’s just a swim in the ocean in the summertime.
It’s really nice.
Yeah, it’s amazing.
Yeah, we went up north.
The Cape Cook, which is closer to Canada though.
And it’s, the weather, the, the temperature was nice but we didn’t realize the tide was so much bigger up there.
So, we were kayaking and we had, like, the tide almost went out so far.
That we could not get back to where we were before.
It was like a 30 40 ft, tide or something.
It was things I never thought I would have to think about.
How did you get back to the car?
Well, we got close enough and then like the mud was up to our knees.
So we just, we just walked the rest of the way.
Yeah, because we have a little story book about Maine and it’s all about the tides coming in and going out and like looking for clams in the sand and all this kind of stuff about the tide and, yeah.
If you go on the, if you go on the, on the coast during certain times of the year, you’ll see people just, anybody can just go out there and get clams and go clamming.
I’ve never done it, but it sounds very like a very natural place to live.
It definitely feels like we’re more connected to the seasons here because,, the winter, well, if you, a lot of the people who have been around, like locals or people who have lived here a long time, so the winters now aren’t anything compared to what they used to be.
but it’s still longer winter than what we had in Virginia.
It definitely feels like we’re more connected to the seasons.
You know, like winter comes and you hunkered down and then spring comes and, you know, you’re trying to get ready for spring and then summer hits and, you know, the rhythm of the seasons and I bet the summers are lighter there.
They’re not as intense.
In terms of heat.
Oh, yeah, they’re amazing.
They’re really nice.
It’s probably in the day.
It really is perfect.
I mean, we don’t have an air conditioner at all.
So you said that there’s a 5th season in Maine or the seasons are different there?
So there’s 1/5 season in Maine called the Mud season.
And it’s the time in between.
Well, it’s kind of like the end of winter and the beginning of spring where the ground melts and it’s just a big sopping muddy mess everywhere that’s called the mud.
Are you making people want to avoid me?
I think, I don’t think I want to go to the mud.
The fifth season skip, like end of March early April.
You know, maybe it’s better to go there in July or August summer is great.
It’s actually, I mean, it’s really crowded though.
Arcadia is nuts in the summer.
So many people, there’s traffic.
I actually don’t go to Acadia National Park because there’s too much traffic.
But, so what’s the alternative park to go to?
You said that there’s a better one?
well, we go to, Head Lake, which is this gorgeous place, up like kind of northwest and then there’s Baxter State Park which is a nice one.
so we’re, we’re still exploring the camping but the only thing is it gets, the shortest day is, 3 30.
What does the thunder sound like?
So it gets dark at 3 30 PM.
Yeah, it’s crazy wind.
Well, so the shortest day is, you know, it would be December 21st, like, winter solstice.
It’s like the shortest day and there’s all these lately you just don’t get enough sunlight.
Not in the winter.
I feel like really deprived of, of win or a sun up here.
Like I definitely started taking vitamin D this winter.
But we got this, gift certificate to a sauna.
Oh, I have never done.
It’s 90 minutes sauna and you go in the sauna for 15 minutes and then you go in this bathtub that’s filled with ice cold water and you submerge yourself.
Wow, that’s good.
Then you go back in it changed.
We did it, it was amazing.
John said it changed his life.
I mean, it felt like I felt so good afterwards that I was wearing a T shirt.
There’s like snow on the ground and I was like warm.
It wasn’t cold at all.
It was amazing.
It was, I’m so jealous right now.
I wanna, I wanna, I love sauna related.
I want one now.
I want to build me a sauna.
But where, where is that location?
Is it like it for tourists in a hotel?
Or something somewhere.
No, it’s a small, little, like there’s all these little farms and farmhouses around and someone just bought this little old farm and built two beautiful saunas and then she has a mobile sauna and you can just book them during the winter.
Fantastic show up.
Well, you’ll have to do it again.
I plan on it.
Yeah, I can’t wait.
Yeah, it’ll be so fun.
You’ll have to come visit and go.
Well, this is, this conversation has been incredible.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience as a potter and also a little bit about life in Maine and what it would be like to visit such an incredible state in the US and that’s so unique and hopefully we can talk again sometime.
That would be great.
That would be awesome.
I would love that.
Thanks for joining me today.
I hope the listeners have enjoyed hearing about you.
Well, I hope you love listening to this podcast and now I would like to go through some of the idioms and the expressions and the slang words that Misha used.
So, last month, I had someone from Moscow comment on my youtube channel that they really wanted me to add some more idioms to the podcast.
So thank you for the fans out there who leave these kinds of comments because it motivates me to provide you with some of these expressions.
So, first of all, I’m going to go through some of the things she said.
And for example, she said that she’s a huge fan of pottery.
So this is, she’s very keen on it.
She loves it.
She she’s just so into pottery, right?
And then she talks about how working with clay and making pots is a good way for her to blow off steam.
And that really means that it’s a great way for her to relax and kind of distress.
So what she’s saying there and many people use this expression.
if they’re under a lot of pressure and then they go running or they do exercise, they do some activity to release that sense of pent up stress.
So it’s a great expression expression to use if you just want to kind of get your energy out and blow off steam and relax.
And another thing she talks about is she get, she talks about getting her hands in the clay just getting dirty is this tactile, this sensory experience of working with clay and everyday art.
And then I say, well, maybe there was a fork in the road, meaning she had to choose, right?
She had to choose.
There was this fork in the road literally, if you think about the utensil the fork in your kitchen that you eat with, you know, it has multiple kind of spikes coming off of the end of it.
So that’s where we’re talking about different decisions, different choices to make.
She could have gone into literature.
But she decided pottery was a, a great path for her.
And then she talks about how really she loved reading literature but that she didn’t have her heart in it.
So having your heart is in something, is this idea of like pass feeling, passion about something, loving your career.
Do you have your heart in your profession?
So are you feeling it?
You know, I really have my heart in the teaching profession and she has her heart in the, the pottery, the ceramics profession.
And then she uses the word Epic.
The, we use the word epic a number of times.
Just meaning like this fantastic, amazing, awesome, incredible experience.
So she just said it was just, it was epic.
You know, to throw her first plates on the wheel to throw the pots on the wheel was an epic experience to finally make her first mug, for example.
And then I talk about this idea of, was it stressful?
Did it make you want to pull your hair out?
So to pull your hair out is to just like want to like you’re so frustrated, literally, you want to just like grab your hair and just pull it, but it just to pull your hair out is really getting at that idea of like being overwhelmed.
So she said it didn’t make her pull her hair out.
because it was actually quite relaxing and soothing and it was the opposite of that.
And then we kind of go into how, you know, she talks about how everyday art and the pottery in itself.
The idea of making art completes her.
So if you, you can say that something completes you, it gives you a sense of fulfillment.
And in that case, art really completes her.
And then she also talks about how like when she’s making pottery, she’s in the moment, this is like her being in the present moment and that’s where she uses the word to zone out.
It’s this idea of like just spacing out and just kind of, your head is in the clouds.
You’re and truly you’re making the pots and you’re thinking about other things.
Like your mind is just wandering and you’re just kind of zoning out.
So it, it must be that kind of reason laxing feeling where you’re just free to think about whatever you want when you’re making pottery.
So I love this idea of, she uses the word mesmerizing to describe making pots.
And that’s a wonderful adjective to think about like, wow, it’s so mesmerizing.
It’s just absolutely incredible this experience.
And she also talks about how, you know, her favorite pot is a mug.
And then I thought that was really cool.
So if you think about the the sound and pronunciation, like it’s the of mud, that she talks about with the fifth season.
It’s, it, it has the same sound as mug, which is what you drink out of.
And I know it’s a really hard sound in English.
But the mud season when, when she refers to the mud season, she’s talking about like the, like when you have to walk through soil that has a lot of water in it.
It’s like this kind of this mud is formed and you’re trudging, stepping through it and it’s just, it can get really thick and then your legs and your shoes are covered with mud.
And so I just wanted to make that connection to help you with the pronunciation of mud and mug.
It’s the same sound.
And then also, yeah, I mean, I think she just, she also talks about throwing pots on the wheel.
Let’s see, her apprenticeship, the word apprenticeship.
This is when you’re really learning from a master and in some fields there, you can become an apprentice, especially with master artists.
Also, I’ve heard it used like for example, in a bike shop, even like if you want to learn how to fix bikes, you could then do an apprenticeship and learn how to fix bikes with someone who knows how to do that.
So yeah, I mean, I think that is the, the most, those are the most important words.
And then I also wanted to say that the podcast is going to be coming with this transcript and I’m gonna time stamp it so that you can kind of refer back to those sentences and that those moments in the interview when she does use this language.
So hopefully, this explanation will help you a little bit with some of the harder terms.
And yeah, I mean, you might want to look up an image of blueberries, blueberries.
I know there are tons of different berries in English blueberries are found, you can get them wild.
So that’s what she’s talking about.
Picking wild blueberries.
Thank you all for listening.
Thank you for your wonderful comments and support and I hope to see you next time and have a great day.