François-Marie Billiard made his training in ceramics with Brigitte Marionneaud. Some time afterwards, he met with ceramicist Yoland Cazenove (1914-2009) whose large number of pieces of work is preserved at the Orleans Museum of Fine Arts (France) and the Sevres National Manufacture (France).
Beginning with a training in modelling and low temperature cooking, the practice of François-Marie Billiard was influenced by his exchanges with Yoland Cazenove, in particular by the discovery of the sandstone and cooking to wood, like his usage of the raw materials in his ceramics.
Strongly marked by works of arts from the “Raku” dynasty in Japan, but also by those of other ceramicists like Uwe Lollmann, Alain Vernis, Hans Coper, Lucie Rie, Francine del Pierre, François-Marie Billiard engages himself in a work of low temperature cooking modelled parts. Privileging the usage of the resources available in nature (soils, stones, etc.) and the presence of impurities in the raw materials, he prepares the enamel which he reduces out of powder to place afterwards on the parts, complemented with various elements (oxides, soils, etc.).
Acceptance (and the usage) of the “accident” in the creative process is part of Billiard’s conception of ceramics.
By successive engobings (layers of soil placed on the raw piece of art), he seeks effects on the material, the ranges of colours and the differences in textures. More or less enamel added to make them glassy, these engobings are posed on overlapped layers, with (if needed) a cooking between each layer which will make he possible to amalgamate the whole a little in the manner of glazing in painting: indeed, the mixture of the engobing and enamel reinforces the effects on materials and colours.
Cookings are carried out in a small size gas or wood furnace in order to be able to carry out more frequent cookings. The choice of wood for cookings enables the piece of work to be placed in the slow progression from the uncooked clay to the finished part, because this kind of cooking requires a constant presence and observation to guarantee success of the procedure. This process of cooking often ends in a hot discharging of the parts at about 1000°C to smoke them out them completely or partially. Reheating is current because they make it possible to amplify or create a melted effect between the various layers of engobings and enamel.
The choice of the forms concentrates on carved containers, primarily of the bowls, bottles, for which it will be a question of balancing among the various elements: the foot, the body, the lip, the thickness. A piece of art is considered to be satisfactory when a total harmony can be appreciated. Each piece of art is unique.