Seguin is the creation of Loren Francis, Ida Lennestål, Marsha Dunn and Philip Francis (Loren and Philip are brothers, Ida is married to Loren and Marsha to Philip). Loren and Philip grew up at the Back River Boat Yard across the river from what is now the Seguin land. Despite their proximity, it wasn’t until the land came up for sale that we climbed the mammoth pines at the top of the hill and realized the possibility for expansive river views. That’s when our vision for tree dwellings and a gathering space in the trees was born. We set out to build a place where others could be inspired by these vistas, experience the whimsy of childhood tree house dreams, ignite their own creativity and embrace the literal change of perspective that tree tops bring. Lots of lumber, nails, hammer blows, crane-lifts, and paint splattered coveralls later we bring you Seguin.
Seguin has been a project of passion and creativity. Marsha designs all of the dwellings, Loren builds them, Ida photographs them and Philip promotes them. With the building of our gathering space we draw on further aspects of our professional backgrounds in facilitation, academia, writing, art and social work. We are currently expanding the programming portion of Seguin to include workshops, retreats, performances and discussions. We kicked-off our Artist in Residence program in the Spring of 2018, hosting poets, photographers, writers, and visual artists (learn more about the artists and their wonderful work on our website).
We are delighted to share this place with you, our guests.
Loren Francis is the builder and in-house artist (writer, musician) at Seguin. He has built each
of our structures (on incredibly short deadlines; dude gets stuff done). His approach to literature
and writing has been honed by graduate studies at the University of Stockholm (MA, English
Literature) and by his current work as an MFA in creative writing at the Stonecoast Writer’s
Workshop at the University of Southern Maine. He is collaborating with Philip in developing the
educational programming at Seguin, particularly writing workshops. He most recently taught the
poetry component of a college course on nature and “the Good Life” through the Seguinland
Institute. Before returning to his home state of Maine, Loren lived in Sweden for 5 years working as a professional musician and songwriter. He published several songs that were covered by international music acts, including one song that was featured in the semi-finals of Sweden’s Melodifestivalen, the feeder for the larger annual Eurovision competition (like American Idol, but way bigger, cooler and with all original songs!). He grew up on land adjacent to the Seguin Tree Dwelling property in Georgetown, Maine.
Ida Lennestål is the in-house photographer and point person for Seguin’s artist in residence
program. In addition to capturing the dwellings and landscapes surrounding Seguin, she does
portraiture of each artist during their stay. She’s also a world traveler. She hails from the north
of Sweden, where the reindeer roam, but has called home places as far flung as Cuba and the
UK, where she studied anthropology and media at Goldsmiths University of London. She’s just back from a month long stay in Guatemala
during which she focused on her portraiture work.
Ida is also on Seguin’s marketing team, where she builds on her experience working on social
media marketing campaigns in the UK and Berlin.
Marsha Dunn is designer and facilitator at Seguin. She designed the exteriors and interiors of each structure, from tree dwellings to custom furniture to gathering space. She is currently
developing the programming at Seguin’s 20-feet-in-the-air gathering space, which will include
retreats and facilitated sessions with organizations ranging from small non-profits to academic institutions to forward-thinking businesses. She brings 17 years of experience as a facilitator of both deep, reflective conversations and strategic, action-oriented workshops. In particular, Marsha has experience as a graphic facilitator: using deep, synthetic listening skills she
transforms conversations and presentations into illustrated, visual maps in real-time, working on
a large-scale canvas (click for examples). She has worked with clients in academia (e.g., Harvard University, MIT SHASS, MIT Media Lab), the non-profit world (e.g., Gates Foundation, Dalio Foundation, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Ramapo for Children) small start-ups and Fortune 500 companies across a range of industries. Her perspective has been shaped by undergraduate training in modern media and culture at Brown University and MSW training at Boston University. Her design and facilitation work seek to integrate aesthetic principles and analytical thinking with a human and heartfelt approach.
Philip Francis is the in-house professor of philosophy/ religion/nature at Seguin. He received his PhD from Harvard before going on to a post-doc at UPenn. In 2017, his first book was published by Oxford University Press. His essays and opinion pieces have appeared in such
publications as The Atlantic and the L.A. Review of Books. Philip is developing the educational
programming at Seguin in conjunction with the non-profit Seguinland Institute, which he founded. Programming will include: immersive educational experiences, nature based pedagogy, lecture series, and dialogues with artists in residence. Philip utilizes the unique interior/exterior spaces of Seguin’s tree dwellings and gathering space, as well as the rocky coast of Maine, to galvanize thinking on topics ranging from back to land spirituality, aesthetic experience, wonder/awe, forest bathing and the good life. Courses can be tailored to meet the time constraints and interests of various groups. He is also a professor of Philosophy and Religion at the pioneering public liberal arts college at University of Maine, Farmington. He grew up on land adjacent to the Seguin Tree Dwelling property in Georgetown, Maine.