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Alternative Photography: Solargraphy and Lumen printing

With Pauline Woolley

26th August 2022 - 28th August 2022


This practical 2 day and night course with artist Pauline Woolley will explore alternative photography techniques including how to make your own pinhole cameras to produce solargraphy and how to develop your own Lumen prints without using a camera at all.


Part 1 – Solargraphy

You will learn how to make two types of solargraph camera. The first from 35mm empty film canisters, the second will be from empty drinks can. You will then be shown how to install the camera, expose and process your long exposure of the sun. You will also learn how to photograph or scan the paper negative and then invert the image.

Part 2 – Lumen printing

Through traditional and contemporary examples, you will learn how to make camera-less images known as lumen prints.  You will be shown the process using natural items such as leaves and flowers and other objects of interest. This involves placing objects onto photosensitive paper and exposing them to sunlight. Pauline will also demonstrate other light sensitive techniques such as pre-prepared cyanotype paper and turmeric and alcohol on paper and inkjet paper, as alternative methods for you to experiment with and you will be shown how to scan in or take photos of these images.

Part 3 – Under a night sky

*Please Note: this part is an evening workshop element*

We will begin this course with an evening of relaxed and informal star gazing out in the field with the telescope. You will be introduced to a sky app called Stellarium so that after the course you can explore the night sky in your own time and understand the rhythm of the sky.

Pauline will also introduce you to phone camera apps that can be used to take basic wide view images of the night sky, and for those students who wish to bring it along, a simple set up for doing the same with a DSLR or mirror less camera.

Accommodation is provided with this course and is an essential component as you will be staying into the evening to experience the night sky. This also makes the course a fully immersive learning experience, giving you the time and space to develop a new peer network with the other course participants. 

By the end of the course you will:

  • Have acquired the skills to be able to make your own cameras at home
  • Be able to make simple sun based camera-less images to explore further in your arts practice
  • Have an understanding of the night sky and how to use available apps to help you navigate this further

No prior knowledge is needed for this course and is aimed at beginners who are interested in alternative photographic techniques, light and the night sky. A willingness to have a go is the only thing needed!

We have also set up a payment plan, so that you can spread the cost of the sessions over the next 4 months. You will find the option for doing this as you enter the checkout page.


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Alternative Photography: Solargraphy and Lumen printing INCLUDES OVERNIGHT ACCOMMODATION
£ 270.00
8 available


Rooted in the aesthetics and practices of painting, photography, landscape and astronomy, Pauline Woolley takes work with homemade pinhole cameras, then into a moving-image, tracing the daily movements of the sky.

Born in Cheshire, Pauline is an artist based in the East Midlands whose practice deals with her relationship to sky, time, place and astronomy often in an urban setting.

Recent exhibitions and projects include re:rual, Haarlem Artspace, 'Writing Skyscapes', UK and Ireland, 'Time, Dilated' Brighton Photo Fringe, Tate Exchange and Gallery Zero residency, Nottingham Contemporary with Outsider Artist Collective.

Chasing Suns is an ongoing long-term photographic project for Pauline, which you can read more about here

You can find Pauline on instagram @pauline_woolley_visual_artist


Prior to course, 8 solargraph pinhole cameras will have been installed and exposing at Clayhill to provide an instant example of the technique. Course participants will meet outside for brief introductions and to take the cameras down to take back into the classroom. Once in the classroom we will go over the learning objectives for the day. Pauline will explain the technique of pinhole solargraphy using projected visuals of other artists work. She will then demonstrate the processing technique of the image using a camera phone app and scanner as well as free photo editing software GIMP. Each student will then be given a camera collected from the grounds of Clayhill to open and practice processing with. After a short break we will begin to make the cameras. Pauline will demonstrate how to make a camera using a 35mm empty film canister, followed by how to make a camera using an empty soft drinks can. All students will then be able to make a number of their own cameras with some to take home. Once these cameras have been made we will be Installing them outside. Longer periods of exposure create better results but it is possible to create an image over a period of a few hours. You will take the cameras outside to set up on tripods, facing the sun that will be exposing over the over afternoon. We we close this first session with questions and discussion, before breaking for lunch

After lunch, Pauline will explain the technique of lumen printing using projected visuals of other artists work. She will demonstrate this technique using black and white photosensitive paper, pre prepared cyanotype paper and turmeric and alcohol coated paper. Students will then be able to create their own lumen prints using natural objects such as flowers, leaves etc-using paper provided. The prints are constructed then left in natural light to develop. Pauline will demonstrate the processing technique of the image using a camera phone app and scanner as well as free photo editing software GIMP. Plus fixing of the image and tea toning. After a short break we will collect the cameras from outside and finish up with a discussion before a group supper.

After supper and as the night sky begins to darken we will begin our evening session in the classroom where you will be shown a sky app called Stellarium. This will teach you everything you need to know, so that after the course you can explore the night sky in their own time and understand the sky’s rhythm. Pauline will demonstrate the phone camera apps that can be used to take basic wide view images of the night sky and for those who have brought them along, a simple wide field set up with a DSLR or mirror less camera. We will then be outside to unwind under the night sky and weather permitting see some celestial objects through a telescope. A fire will be lit for the group to sit around and is an opportunity for discussions, observing, and some nature related readings. This will also be a chance to take photos of the night sky. IF THE WEATHER DOESN’T PERMIT THIS PART, THE CLASSROOM SECTION WILL BE EXTENDED WITH AN EARLIER FINISH ALONG WITH SOME NIGHT BASED FILMS FOR VIEWING AND DISCUSSION WILL BE PROVIDED.


Can I stay with you?

Yes! All of our bedrooms here at Clayhill are en-suite so you will have your own private space to retreat to and relax in after spending your day in the meditative space of the Studio. We provide you with your own towels and bathroom products for use throughout your stay and you can enjoy the extensive grounds well into the evening. If you do choose to stay with us a bespoke evening meal as well as breakfast and lunch will also be provided.

No prior knowledge is needed for this course and is aimed at beginners who are interested in alternative photographic techniques, light and the night sky. A willingness to have a go is the only thing needed!

All equipment will be provided though it is advised to bring along warm clothing for the sky watching and sun cream/hats for work we will be doing during the day. You will also need to bring some items for the lumen print part of the course. Items such as leaves, flowers or any natural foliage are ideal. Flowers can be at the end of their bloom and you can spend time collecting this from the grounds at Clayhill, but of you have your own that you would specifically like to experiment with then please bring those. For those with a smartphone, it is not essential, but if you would like to install the photo-editing app such as Photoshop Express on your phone or tablets/ipad that would be useful and Pauline can talk through how to use this.

Yes! We provide refreshments throughout the day and a home-cooked lunch which is freshly prepared in our Granary kitchen. Lunch is served around our communal dining table, offering you a great chance to get to know everyone on the course and share in the making processes you have been developing throughout the day. Please advise us of any dietary requirements before arrival.

There will be some walking around the grounds but the workshop should suit all abilities. PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS WORKSHOP HAS A NIGHT TIME COMPONENT AND WILL BE TAKING PART IN THE EVENING FOR A PART OF IT[I would include a note about the fact there’s a late night - Katherine]

Gift Vouchers

We offer Gift Vouchers for use with our courses and events.


Working with Deborah and Michael was such a pleasure. They understood the project from the beginning, what the needs of the makers and our audiences would be, and acted as thoughtful ambassadors for the project when we were not able to be there. Every aspect of the exhibition and events was facilitated in such a calm and confident manner, which made my job of coordinating a group of artists so much easier! The whole event became a pivotal moment for the project, bringing people together in a way I could never have anticipated, and which has altered my thinking about the future of the project. Thank you for making us feel so welcome.


The weekend I spent at Clayhill Arts was a very welcome change of scenery to my otherwise urban setting. I felt calmed yet invigorated by the surroundings, and the accommodation was beautifully tasteful and very homely. The main space is wonderfully considered and very versatile - an ideal space for creativity and dynamic discussion. I left on the Sunday feeling energised and inspired by the experience of staying at Clayhill.


As a singer it has been one of the best spaces to sing in with generous reverberation and acoustics.  It is a space which complemented the type of instruments I was working with and the songs.


I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed being at your venue. It is a lovely and inspiring artistic space. The food was fantastic, homely yet unusual. I really enjoyed the day.


As an artist retreat, the venue at Clayhill Arts provided a warm and welcoming environment, allowing a safe and constructive space where individuals creative needs can be met. 


We were lucky enough to be able to take over the whole venue for a weekend, using the Granary as our base for experimentation, discussion and shared learning. The informality of the accommodation, and the relaxed surroundings, put everyone at ease and offered a space where cooperation and encouragement evolved naturally.


Everything was wonderful! This is a beautiful place. Thank you, we really enjoyed our stay.


Clayhill feels remote which is great but it also is close to Cannington which has everything, so supplies can be bought without travelling a great distance...I also really enjoyed that it is still a working farm, because it feels productive and there is such a lot of life around us which is very inspiring