Thomas Merton' worktable at the hermitage
Photo by Thomas Merton
Merton's worktable was a copy of one that his friend, Victor Hammer (artist and printmaker) had at his print shop in Lexington. The redwood table was modeled on a Shaker schoolboy's desk.
As points of departure for his art, Merton gathered grass stems from outside the hermitage, mailing envelopes, and stray objects that he found along the way. He used Higgins India Ink, a common American product, which can be seen in the photo above.
"It all cleared up after High Mass when I saw my only solution is to do what I have always wanted to do, always known I should do, always been called to do: follow the way of emptiness and nothingness, read more of the "nothing" books than those of others, forget my preoccupation with ten thousand absurdities, to know without wanting to be an authority." ("Turning Toward the World", p. 135)