We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Eastern Avenue
Self-described urban folk artist Vicki McComas, a beloved fixture in the Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point where for more than 30 years she sold her clay works alongside estate sale finds, died Aug. 31. She was 68.
A fourth-generation Baltimorean and an avid storyteller, Vicki would readily delve into past exploits when talking with visitors to her Saratoga Trunk store. These included her years working in bars and restaurant kitchens in places such as Mount Royal Tavern, Bertha's, Martick's Restaurant Francais, John Steven, Funk's Democratic Coffee Spot, and Victory Tavern.
Vicki said she used her life experiences, along with her love of mythology, to shape her clay works. Dominated mostly by animals, including deceased pets, her creations were often described as "whimsical." They included works such as "Bell the Cat Shrine" and "Dogfox." Her love of creating with clay began early. She once told a reporter, "I was six when my aunt gave me my first piece of clay, and it was love at first touch."
Although she was born in Baltimore, Vicki grew up in New York and Connecticut. She spent summers in South Baltimore with her great grandmother, who taught her how to fish and crab. Vicki moved permanently to the city in 1975 to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), another source of anecdotes. Fellow students once included her in the B-movie "Dead Strippers," and she even got an offer for a role in a John Water's movie. MICA was also where she met her life-time husband.
On top of working at her store, Vicki taught at the Potters Guild of Baltimore and took independent ceramics study at MICA for nearly 30 years. Her creations are found in several private collections and were included in more than a dozen exhibitions.
Friends and neighbors with long ties to Vicki and her rowhouse store and home have unending stories to share. Many will mention Vicki's potent Lithuanian honey liqueur, Virytas, that she would make every year during the holiday season. Others can recall countless stories of her kindness and generosity. Once, for instance, Vicki discovered an intruder in her apartment in the middle of the night. After she made him breakfast, she told him he needed a meal to come in the front door next time. "Vicki was like that," said one friend on Vicki's Facebook page.
In addition to her many friends and family, Vicki leaves behind her husband Dan Kuc, together 42 years; her sister, Meghan Johnson; as well as her treasured cats Czak and Lulu. Services are private. Donations in her memory are welcome at the American Diabetes Association and the Vicki McComas Ceramics Scholarship at MICA.