Stilley lines up an assortment of his instruments in this undated photograph by Flip Puthoff.
of Hogscald Hollow is a one of a kind, an Ozark preacher and farmer who said a vision from God inspired him to make musical instruments and give them away to children. He toiled over a quarter of a century to make some 200 fiddles, dulcimers, banjos and guitars of scrap wood, saw blades, a stack of dimes, pot lids and such, according to numerous articles about Stilley, and gave them all away. The instruments are inscribed “True Faith, True Light, Have Faith in God,” hence the name of a book about Stilley, “True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley,”
and an exhibit that opens today at the Old State House Museum.
The show includes 28 of Stilley's instruments, along with photographs and his “blessed router.” Tonght, Kelly and Donna Mulhollan, who perform as Still on the Hill and are guest curators for the show, will perform at a reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. using some of Stilley’s creations. Stilley's health precludes him from attending the reception, unfortunately.
Here's a short article
about Stilley that asks, is he the Howard Finster of lutherie?