At work with: Elisabeth Krohn, editor, Sabat

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We start the new week with Elisabeth Krohn, the founder of Sabat, a unique magazine about witchcraft in the context of the contemporary world. The magazine has quickly built an international audience of women intrigued to explore alternative views of womanhood. Always conceived as a three-part series of publications — reflecting the pagan tradition of the three stages of womanhood, Maiden, Mother and Crone — we join Elisabeth as the final Crone issue is published.

How was your weekend?
It was alright — sunny and nice! We’re a bit stressed with some delays from our printer but I hope they resolve that today…

Tell us about your journey to work.
I work from home actually so it was very short and uncomplicated. I stop by the kitchen to boil two eggs and sometimes, if I feel inspired, venture outside to grab a coffee from Espresso Room around the corner. I listen to Bret Easton Ellis have a rant on his podcast about victim culture or millennial snowflakes (like myself) to get the right sort of attitude for the day ahead.

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Describe the state of your desk.

My desk is petite, teak and Danish. I’m a minimalist magpie, there is a lot of things lying around (crystals, cards, wands, markers) but they usually have their intended place, forming part of some collage or still life. The wall behind it is wallpapered in stuff I liked in 2010 when I first moved here, little has changed on it since then and it sort reminds me who I am or was and what makes me happy should I forget.

Which magazine do you first remember?
It must have been some Norwegian women’s glossy with make-over features – like a version of Trinny & Susannah where they restyled bored mums. I loved that when I was a kid.

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What magazine matters to you the most this morning?

Hmm! It might not be that up to date but I really love the concept of A Magazine curated by different creatives — I love peeking into other people’s universe of inspiration. Colors fuses good content with great and meaningful design and experimentation and has been a real influence for the Sabat concept. I also really like how Vestoj goes in-depth in a quirky way on fashion and design topics.

What spell matters to you the most this morning?
Oh — it would have to be one concerning focus and intellect — to help me find that flow where I can re-center after replying to emails and orders and start working with writing and visuals and developing ideas.

You’ve completed the Sabat trilogy, what a great run! Why did you originally decide to limit the project to three?
It was a concept I came up when I was studying for my MA actually, to look at witchy womanhood through these three lenses and reflect the cycle(s) of life. Sabat was born, came into power, blossomed, we harvested a lot from it — it seems natural that Sabat should die too.

What have you learned about different witch subcultures around the world throughout your publishing stint?
The Internet has been essential in interconnecting different witch subcultures globally. It’s a female dominated and defined space, with exceptions of course. That doesn’t mean some kind of stark feminist realism – this is self-defined femininity at its most flamboyant. Usually a fusion of elaborate fantasy and irony, it is a space for the everyday goddess and the glamorous goth. Body-positivity and playful creativity is always a plus. These incarnations of the modern witch are defined by their diversity and their openness to that which is different from themselves. There is a unique openness across the visual tribes — the pale Victoriana princess is not many clusters away from the queens of Hoodoo in this universe.

What’s next – will you be making any new publication ventures?

I plan to work on more Sabat-related projects, though perhaps not in the magazine format this time. More to come on this soon!

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Tell us about the Crone issue. 
The Crone issue turned out to be one of the most complex and difficult things we’ve ever done, both technically, testing a lot of new techniques, and with regards to content. It’s a kind of intuitive process creating the magazine, we go into some sort of creative limbo where we try to rethink everything, not knowing where we are going to end up. I wanted to make the Crone issue not so much about literal age but about coming of age or growing up and out of things.

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Pick a spread from the issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
I love the #letitgo piece we did – both visually and conceptually. We did a call-out on Instagram asking witches to send us their best rituals to let go of what no longer served them in their lives and received so much guidance! Then art director Cleber de Campos and graphic designer (for this segment) Dario Gracceva together with Maria Torres who did the illustrations, used all this to create a visual ode to the power of letting go, complete with peek-a-boo waning moons and crystal spheres that could reveal the past or predict the future…

What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?
Balancing pressing new projects with Sabat. It’s hard to find enough space to brainstorm and zoom out to think bigger and about new ideas while ticking off the day-to-day running of Sabat.

What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
I hope the copies are delivered safely and I look forward to hearing back from our readers what they think of the Crone issue! Let’s hope it’s mostly good! Also I really look forward to talking about Sabat with Steve at Stack Magazines for their podcast on Wednesday.

What will you be doing after this chat?
I will probably catch up with Cleber, reply to some emails and send off some order spreadsheets to our shipper — Monday as a Monday should be?

sabatmagazine.com

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