Sandy Kiess began her study and practice of calligraphy in the late 1970's. Her tools of the trade include steel-nib pens of various widths, bottles of inks, watercolors and gold leaf, as well as a few other "toys”. When creating her Framed Calligraphy Samplers each letter is drawn by pen, using multiple strokes. The process of creating a piece of calligraphic art begins with the verse, quotation, or document to be lettered. Sandy often works with pencil and thumbnail sketches to carefully determine the layout of a piece. After deciding the layout and lettering style, known as a "hand," 2- or 3-ply paper will be laid out with pencil depicting where text and illustration will go. Most of Sandy’s work is lettered using Mitchell nibs, although sometimes she may substitute a Brause nib or pointed pen.
Verses created for reproduction are usually illustrated before printing and then are hand-finished after printing. The finishing technique on these prints is varied - from watercolors or gold leaf, to buffed color stick or oils. This last method involves hand buffing four shades of color onto the prints. The colors are soft and subtle, adding an almost texture- like quality to the finished print.