The One Who Taught Me To Wire Wrap Was More Than A Wire Artist. He Was A Grammy Winning Music Legend.

Once Upon A Time, I Was A Painter.

johnna sabri painting


Fallen Flower by Johnna Crider (Sabri) 2006I didn’t always used to wire wrap. In fact, I was a painter. I would blast the music, power up the coffee pot and get lost in amazing colors and my own vivid imagination.

I was once a lumber cashier who would scavenge the scraps of lumber so I could have something to paint
I was living in Louisiana and just wanted to fill my tiny apartment with works of art.

But the winds of change blasted me all the way to Atlanta to meet a very talented and Grammy winning guitarist whose family became my own family.

Losing my home because my landlord wanted to sell to Kevin Costner’s movie crew was a major loss. I lost all my artwork among other things.

But, I was fortunate because many others lost so much more. Kevin Costner was supposed to film his 2006 movie, The Guardian in New Orleans, but Hurricane Katrina messed that up.


Denise ThompsonI was going from store to store in Atlanta’s Little 5 Points and stumbled into a studio of artists where a kind young lady bought my art then introduced me to Denise of Elegance Boutique.

As I parted the curtains, I walked into a wonderland of beautiful gemstones, jewelry, and creativity.


The guy that was making a beautiful pendant was a stranger, but he welcomed me and from that moment on, I knew my destiny was in this shop.


My random visit became a friendship with Denise and Daryl, who needed help setting up a Facebook page and a website. I would spend countless hours helping him with Twitter, Facebook and a website and learned that this jewelry designer was so much more.


Daryl Thompson was a genius at wire work, but his real artistry was in music.


photo by David Byrd

He was the son of Eli Lucky Thompson who played the saxophone.
Daryl’s history in music floored me and when I first met him and Denise, I had no idea that the person talking to me had such an extensive history.
Daryl’s played as a lead guitarist for several of the greats of Reggae including Peter Tosh, Sly and Robbie, and even won a Grammy Award with The Black Uhuru.
Actor Matthew McConaughey sought him out to produce Mishka’s 2009 album, Above The Bones, which reigned at Number 1 on the Billboard Charts for Reggae.

Learning A New Art Form

Photo of Daryl taken by YungGod

I accomplished a lot when I lived in Atlanta: started a nonprofit organization, painted, participated in a few art shows, worked at a pizzeria (one of the few actual jobs I cared about and still do care about the people who own it) and took care of my mother until she died which was hard.


Being in and out of hospitals and working full time took its toll and painting  was put on the back burner.Denise and Daryl were a huge rock for me and taught me about healing crystals.


And Daryl inspired me to try a new art form, one I thought I was impossible.
Not only did he and Denise give me a lot of his beautiful artwork, but Daryl said to me,”Johnna, I am going to give you a gift that will pay you in the future. This could be a career,”
He was right. Not only was this gift a creative outlet for me, but at the time, I had no Idea that 5 years later in 2017 I would own my own shop similar to theirs.


My Journey Back West

Mo and Johnna SabriAfter my mother passed, I was seriously grieving and becoming a bitter person.


I am sure my coworkers, who also supported me during that harsh time, were  shocked and worried when I decided out of the blue I was going back west.
I spent some time in my hometown of Shreveport with some family who I am not close with and eventually moved to Dallas where I met my soulmate.
Denise and Daryl, of course, gave me gifts for the journey.Needless to say, my journey had a lot of twists and turns.


Honoring The Legacy of a Legend

In Dallas, I started working with Kiki and Doug Winters of Skypony Studio. Kiki taught me by literally letting me have my way with her gallery–how to run my own business.


I learned hands on how to connect with people, manage my sales (and hers) and when she discovered my love of crystals, a beautiful partnership ensued.


We were in Valley View Mall, a mall that is undergoing it’s own transformation as I am writing this. And she opened her new gallery, Skypony Gallery, in 2016. When she left her position of Art Director for Gallery At Midtown, I was promoted to that position for a temporary 3-6 months.


The mall decided in May, 2017, to close the gallery until they reopen as the new Dallas Midtown. This was the perfect opportunity for my husband and I to try a new city together: Houston.


And throughout all of this, I’ve made many friends and clients who now not only know of Daryl, but have a piece of him in each jewelry piece I’ve designed.


I am not the only wire artist he has taught and we each honor him in every piece we create.


Today, I am the proud owner of The Gem Diva’s Rock Shop & Studio, a cozy rock shop in Houston’s PlazAmericas Mall.  It’s the perfect place to create and meet new people.


My husband has been my rock and partner in setting up our business and without him, this blog about crystals would never have grown into an actual storefront business.

My Brands: The Gem Diva & Johnna Sabri Jewelry

My jewelry is designed for the soul who wants to creatively express themselves. Each piece is uniquely designed with real gems and crystals to add that touch of crystal healing earthy vibe.

The Johnna Sabri Signature Collection launched in 2016 in Dallas, TX, and includes an engraved signature with the jewelry piece.

Today I am  focusing on creating unique jewelry where you come in, pick the stones and I design it for you on the spot in your pick of copper, Sterling Silver or 14K Gold or Rose Gold filled wire right here in my Houston studio.

I have had several clients around the globe including: The Philippines, Japan, Canada, England, Jordan, Dubai, The US, Mexico, and Australia.

My jewelry has been modeled by GA State University students for an African themed fashion show and also Miss Texas Plus America 2016.


The Gem Divas’s Rock Shop and Design Studio is located in Houston’s PlazAmerica Mall on the 2nd Level in the Latino City Jewelry Market next to the up escalator (take a left). 

Open daily 11am-7pm.