The storefront is shocking red, but the vibe inside the ceramics gallery Flux is serene. Smooth concrete floors and elegant lighting give the eyes a chance to take it all in: delicate tea sets and vases, beautiful handmade vessels, even a necklace resembling a sand dollar. Lilith Rockett and Delane Hamik opened Flux in Chinatown four months ago after meeting at Xien Clay Center in Pasadena. The ceramists were looking for studio space when they decided to showcase the artisans who had inspired them. "We thought: If we have a studio, maybe we can have a showroom and control the aesthetic and the presentation," says Hamik, pictured above with Rockett's pieces. Control is easy in the three-story space, where Rockett and her husband live on the top floor, a studio and main gallery are at street level, and a kiln and glazing area are in the basement. The work balances the decorative with the utilitarian. "We wanted beautiful handmade objects that people can use," Hamik says. The works cost $8 to $450, with most items priced under $80. The gallery is open noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays at 943 N. Hill St. in Los Angeles; (213) 621-4011.
Better than the rockets' red glare
Barbecuing for the Fourth of July? Plan A: Hit the supermarket for suitably red, white and blue dinnerware, then use and toss. Plan B: Invest in sparkling mercury glass candle holders in patriotic colors -- holiday hues that look good on the table all year long. The Colonial shaped candlesticks in ruby and royal (also in shocking pink and brassy chartreuse), $40 each, hold traditional tapers; the silver goblet, $9, will accommodate a tea light; and the gold column, $25, can fit a small pillar. All are at Glass Garage, 8379 Melrose Ave. in Los Angeles; (323) 651-4232.
Wake up, log on, hit `buy'
Forget EBay alerts. If you want to shop antiques from home, set an alarm for 8 a.m. Wednesdays -- when 500 new items appear on www.1stdibs.com. The website, launched for dealers and decorators in 2001, has opened its e-doors to the public. Browse about 250 sellers in the U.S. and Paris. "They're all knowledgeable, professional retailers," says founder Michael Bruno. The high-rent prices reflect it, though the site has a "make an offer" program. This Paul Frankl cabinet, below, from Modern One of Los Angeles, will likely go for the $12,500 listed. According to the seller, the cabinet boasts more than midcentury lines: It is currently shown in the film "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."
Zigzag like an Egyptian
The return of King Tut's relics has sparked an Egyptian renaissance in L.A. The discovery of the boy king's tomb in the 1920s gave birth to the branch of Art Deco known as Zigzag Moderne. Now Egypt is exhibiting a 21st century foxiness in showrooms along La Cienega Boulevard. At Therien & Co., (310) 657-4615, the $4,995 Karmak chair is a sleek maple- and rawhide-laced update of Egyptian seats. A block away, Blackman Cruz, (310) 657-9228, has 19th century Egyptian Revival antiques such as this hieroglyphic-covered obelisk for $2,800, plus a stately black lacquer chalice-shaped throne at $4,500. "It's called the Harlow," says its creator, David Cruz. "But can't you just see Claudette Colbert as Cleopatra curling up on it?"