Working hard and moving on with the studio.

The weather is warming up and the snow is finally melting in Lviv. Which means our studio isn’t freezing anymore!

Despite the cold we have been very active at The Potter’s Clay. We recently held two photo workshops about studio lighting, At the first one, a surprising ten people showed up! Everyone really liked it and learned a lot. At the second one, only four people showed, but I met a really cool guy, Jonathan. He is from England, and he was the first member of the photo club!

I have been trying for a while to get a photo club started so I’m glad someone finally showed up. The second member was a man from Scotland, Aitkin. He is here teaching English and interested in portrait photography and studio lighting. It’s great to know that the fruits of our labor are beginning to show. There were many times when we wanted to give up but God is always faithful. Alena and I are excited for the next phase of this ministry.

Alena has been doing quite a few painting and drawing workshops at the studio. She is actually about to start a series of seven workshops in the upcoming weeks that we hope will bring in business to the studio and some income. We are currently at a standstill with finishing the studio because of other priorities (ie. a baby) but we hope to get some money through her workshops any my photo sessions to continue. She is working hard despite being pregnant. She is continuing to paint, showing people the studio, doing administrative work, and holding workshops. I don’t know what it’s like to be pregnant, but I can imagine that it’s rough.

Now that it’s warmer, a lot of work needs to be done in the studio. The main room is close to being finished. We only need a shelf built, which the woodworker downstairs can do, and cushions for the couch (I have just been waiting for it to be dry outside so I can clean the pallets for it). We have a small space in the main room that we are deciding what to do with. The dream would be to put up walls and make a darkroom, but it’s a big investment for a place we are only renting.

Alena’s art studio is finished, and eventually we will put plywood on the floor, but its not necessary now.

The third room is the next big project. The floor needs to be fixed (just laying down particle board) and the walls need to be painted.

This room will be a computer working space. We will have computers (we have already been blessed with three),  a professional photo printer, a scanner for film and art, and at least one computer loaded with programs like Photoshop, video editing software, and 3D animation software. If you want to see more about this project, you can visit our website and look under “Projects”.


Here’s a huge way you can help us out. I know most people have some old cameras lying around. If you don’t, your parents probably have the old film camera they used to take all those embarrassing photos of you when you were a kid. And its a long shot, but maybe you have some darkroom supplies from that photo class you took in high school. Or a tripod. Anything photo-related that you don’t use. If you have any of these things and would like to get rid of them, we would be more than happy to use them. Especially point and shoot (film or digital) cameras. The quality doesn’t matter as long as it works or can be fixed.

Why film you may ask? Personally, I’m one of those people that thinks digital has a long way to go before it can match the quality of film (look here for an example), but I also think people learn more by slowing down and realizing each time they take a photo, they are spending money. With our workshops for the orphans , its a lot easier giving them each a film camera and roll of film than passing around one digital camera. There is also an excitement that comes with sending your film off and waiting a week to see your photos.


Some people have been asking where their donations will go. If you want some number to see where your donations will go here is the next phase for the computer room:
  • $220 – Darkroom supplies and film for the photo workshops. For teaching students how to develop their own film. Ordered from Germany.
  • $450 – Cannon Pixma Pro 100 printer for the students final prints to display or put on exhibition. Brand new with warranty.
  • $290 – Canon Pixma TS9140 printer for students to immediately see their prints. We need two printers because the other one uses a lot of expensive ink, so its not good to print test prints on it, only final prints. Brand new with warranty.
  • $450 – Epson V700 scanner for scanning film to edit and print and scanning paintings and drawings to reproduce or display online. Second hand model but unused.
  • $200 – 3 more easels for Alena’s art studio so people don’t have to share.
  • ??? – A projector for workshops and movie nights. We have access to one we can borrow but eventually it would be nice to have our own.
We are not expecting to get this all at once. The priority is the darkroom supplies, printer and easels. The others we will get slowly but surely.

Prayer request:
  • Peace in our last couple of quiet months before little Elizabeth arrives. We are getting impatient because we can’t wait to meet her.
  • That the studio picks up to make up for lost time during the winter. We have a good following now through our website, word of mouth, and social media.
  • Continued health for Alena and Elizabeth. We recently went to the doctor and she is perfectly healthy and due around the beginning of June.
  • That we keep building the relationships we have made through the studio. A lot of people have been coming and a lot of good conversations have been had. Pray that God puts our faith in front of them and inspires them.
  • Financial support. We have been struggling running this studio with our current salary. There is a lot to be done and a lot of people to reach out to, and we want to keep this going. As far as I know, we are the only place doing something like this in Lviv.
  • For more partnerships in Ukraine, the States, and Germany to be built.
  • For people who want to help us in the studio. Alena and I work quite a bit so we can’t always be there.
  • For Alena’s upcoming workshops and exhibition. Pray she has energy and keeps her peace as she does this while being pregnant.