As a child sewing tins were a treasure trove to me. Reels of thread, press studs, hooks & eyes, buttons, precious packages of needles with evocative logos and unfamiliar price tags. The fluff, the stuff of ages past, of hopes, of mendings.

When my cousin Krysia died in 2009 my sister and I emptied her house in Elgin, Scotland, a home once shared with her mum, Jess. The house and loft were packed with possessions and during our repeated visits we sorted, organised and cleared away their lifetimes. Magpie me was drawn to Jessie's sewing and button tins, and I gathered them together with a pile of plaid, plain, monogrammed and embroidered handkerchiefs found in the house. My aunt died in 1997 and I felt we are working in collaboration as I bound the cherry tree branch using reels of cotton thread she selected, making magic in Thread Stick.