Louise Tournay was born in a family of soldiers: her father was a field officer. Very young, she was passionate about medicine and trained as a nurse, which led her to take care of cancer patients in their homes. Marked by this experience, she worked occasionally on a novel about cancer and the traumatic influence of this illness on the mental state of the patients. In 1966 she married a bookseller in Liège. She followed evening courses in pottery and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in the city. Although she wished to continue sculpting at the Academy, she realized that she was unable to execute exercises imposed by her teachers. Louise Tournay invented a world of painted terracotta statuettes: she spent her evenings working the clay, creating the characters that marked her childhood — the village mayor, the priest, the teacher — and also people she encountered.